The disruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have impacted the lives of everyone, including Illinois residents. Among the difficulties, current conditions present are those revolving around personal injury cases. There are a number of ways your case could be affected, and it’s important to know how to move forward from this point.
Seeking Medical Treatment during the Pandemic
One major difficulty is limited access to medical treatment. If you have been injured, you need to seek medical care as promptly as possible. However, with many healthcare facilities treating far larger numbers of patients than ever before, non-emergency care is often postponed.
That can be an issue if you need to receive non-urgent treatments such as physical therapy or follow-up checkups. Until these treatments are received and a doctor deems you fully recovered from your injury—or having reached maximum medical improvement (MMI)—you won’t be in a good position to recover damages since it will be unclear how much your case is worth.
That said, if you need emergency care, don’t delay seeing a doctor. Doing so is vital to both your physical recovery and your personal injury case.
Impact on Settlement Negotiations
Delays in medical treatment can impact settlement negotiations, as can other factors. Businesses, individuals, and insurance companies are under more financial strain than usual, and that can limit how much they are willing—or able—to pay out.
In addition, you may feel more pressure to accept an early settlement. Lack of financial stability may make an initial settlement offer tempting, but if you’re able to hold out for a while, it’s typically in your best interest to do so.
That said, if the defendant in your case ends up going bankrupt, you might not be able to recover any damages at all in the long run, potentially compromising your case. In the end, it’s best to consult with an attorney to determine your best course of action during settlement negotiations.
Court Hearing Delays
If you have taken your case to court, expect delays. Given that many courts have adjusted what cases they’ll currently take, getting a hearing may take a while longer than usual, and the format may change. It’s important to be patient during this process.
Each courthouse in Illinois has its own procedures in place, so check with yours to see how your case will be affected. In some cases, hearings may be handled remotely, while others are to be taken strictly on an emergency basis.
Working with an Attorney
As you pursue damages resulting from a personal injury, you’ll need the representation of a skilled attorney. Given the need for social distancing to control the spread of COVID-19, it’s likely your initial consultation—as well as future communications—will be handled remotely.
Other than a different format for discussions and consultations, the nature of legal work is still very much the same. You’ll work with your attorney to determine the viability of your case, collect evidence, and negotiate a settlement with those responsible.
However, given that many insurance companies are likely to try harder than ever to minimize payouts, you’ll need someone who is highly experienced, knowledgeable, and competent to represent you. Hart David Carson LLP can help you during these trying times, so contact us for a consultation on your case.