The COVID-19 outbreak has been rough on our state. Just as South Carolina has strived to reopen, cases of coronavirus surged. Now we are in limbo between quarantine and recovery. So, how will this situation affect your personal injury lawsuit?
Many elements will affect personal injury cases in the short and long term. Here are a few of the issues our accident injury attorneys believe will affect current and future cases.
When the coronavirus quarantine first hit our country in March, everything shut down. This reduced the amount of traffic on roads, and many expected it would also reduce the number of auto accidents. Things did not play out as expected.
In March, though there were fewer accidents, those accidents were more severe. Motor vehicle fatality rates jumped 14 percent. Experts attributed the change to more aggressive driving habits spurred by empty roads. This could lead to more people needing to file personal injury cases to recover from their injuries.
Another issue is the ability of healthcare providers to treat the injured. After suffering an injury in an accident, it is of utmost importance that you get treatment. Though hospitals most likely will not turn away individuals who need urgent treatment, it could be a different story when it comes to long-term recovery.
With the resurgence of COVID-19, hospitals and medical facilities are filling with patients. They may have difficulty treating injury patients due to fears of exposing people to the virus. This could delay physical therapy or follow-up visits. Sometimes the fear of exposure can also prevent the injured from seeking medical treatment. However, you should never delay seeking medical help. Call your doctor, he or she can be tell you if it is safe for you to visit. Remember, seeking medical attention can affect your case. If you do not seek medical help, it may be harder to prove your damages.
Pressure to Settle
Another element that could cause problems for individuals who have filed a claim is the pressure to settle. For families experiencing financial pressures due to coronavirus, settling may be tempting. However, settling early increases the likelihood of receiving a low settlement. This could prevent the family from handling all expenses related to their accident.
Insurance companies may also face financial pressures during the pandemic. This could lead them to pressure accident victims to settle faster and for less.
How Are Courts Adjusting?
Courts across the nation are social distancing while operating at limited capacity with reduced hours. South Carolina courts are no different. While some courts in our state are operating as normal, others are either limited or closed. The South Carolina Judicial Branch has a list of which courts are open, limited or closed.
For the courts that are open, officials are trying to limit contact with the public. Where possible, courts are conducting proceedings through teleconferencing or Zoom. In a recent mandate, Donald Beatty, chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, mandated face coverings at all state courthouses.
How Are Attorneys Handling the Coronavirus Outbreak?
Despite the current difficulties, our accident injury attorneys are continuing to help people in need. We stay up-to-date on the latest changes at the courts. That means we are always ready to handle whatever twists the pandemic can muster. At Winter & Rhoden LLC, our Gaffney law office has the resources your case needs.