How Will Coronavirus Affect My Personal Injury Claim in Texas?
Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2020
Like others around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the lives of Texans in significant ways. From school closures to work from home orders, the novel coronavirus is slowing operations across multiple sectors — including legal proceedings. If you are in the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit, COVID-19 may impact the timeline of your case.
COVID-19 and the Pre-Lawsuit Process
After suffering a personal injury, it is important to take a series of crucial steps in order to seek help and begin collecting evidence for your claim. This includes seeking medical treatment and contacting a personal injury attorney to represent you.
Depending on your location and access to the internet, COVID-19 shouldn’t impact seeking legal representation very much. Many attorneys are offering digital consultations and operating at full capacity remotely.
When it comes to seeking medical treatment, you should still be able to visit a hospital for emergency care. However, follow-up appointments and elective procedures may be few and far between as medical facilities operate at limited capacity during the pandemic. It may take you longer to obtain documents and reach maximum medical improvement after your accident.
How Will COVID-19 Impact Lawsuits?
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, the impact COVID-19 will have on your case depends on the stage you are in. Across Texas, courts are operating at limited capacity and holding many electronic hearings over Zoom in response to the pandemic. If you already filed your claim, you may see delays in your court date. It may also take a longer time to receive a settlement check if you already secured compensation through a successful claim.
You can still file a personal injury claim during the pandemic. The Texas Supreme Court has previously tolled, or delayed, all filing deadlines for civil cases from March 13th to June 1st, 2020, and if the pandemic continues, it is possible that we may see additional extensions in the future. Speak to your attorney to ensure you meet the correct filing deadline.
Should You Settle a Lawsuit During the Pandemic?
Most personal injury lawsuits settle outside of the courtroom during negotiations, which can take place remotely. However, you may face pressure from the at-fault party to settle in order to avoid having to wait for a court date. This is a tempting choice, but may not be in your best interests.
Prior to negotiations, your attorney will help you calculate an estimated settlement based on the damages you suffered and any future, ongoing care you may need. If the at-fault party is offering you a lower settlement than what you need to recover, accepting it can lead to additional hardship in the future.
Although you may receive a faster payout in these situations, going to trial may be your optimal path to maximum compensation. You should always speak to your lawyer before accepting a settlement — he or she will advise you on the best course of action for your recovery.
Hiring an Attorney During COVID-19
While the coronavirus pandemic may continue to delay and impact personal injury cases, COVID-19 should not prevent you from seeking justice. Many attorneys are offering digital consultations to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and beginning the initial work today will help move your case forward in the future.
Contact your McAllen personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your claim and COVID-19’s influence on your case’s timeline.