by Carrolton Injury Lawyer, Tim O’Hare
What Does COVID-19 Mean for My Personal Injury Case?
As the novel coronavirus has spread throughout the United States this spring, much of the country has been shutdown, with stay-at-home orders issued in most states. Even still, people continue to be injured in car accidents, slip and fall accidents and on-the-job accidents. Accident victims are still able to pursue personal injury claims for compensation for their injuries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we move into May, though some restrictions are loosened, the COVID-19 virus continues to impact daily life for Texans. In response to the virus, many organizations, institutions and businesses across the state remain closed or are operating on a limited basis, resulting in significant changes in routine practices for all Texans.
These changes leave many injury victims wondering what’s next for their case. Here are some of the issues personal injury clients might face in this time and answers to common questions about how the pandemic may impact a personal injury case.
Are personal injury lawyers still practicing during the pandemic?
The answer to this question depends largely on where you live. In Texas, legal services are considered “essential” and as such, law offices have been allowed to remain open throughout the duration of this pandemic. At The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, we continue to work tirelessly to help our clients navigate their personal injury cases.
Throughout this pandemic, we have remained open to take on personal injury cases for clients. But rest assured, safety is our top priority. We are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control for safe operations and while we would love to see our clients in person in our office, we also offer the option to meet with us via videoconference for anyone who may have concerns about visiting our office in person. Additionally, our technology allows for clients to electronically sign all necessary case documents remotely from a laptop, computer or cell phone.
Accident victims may find it hard to get in with a doctor to receive medical care related to their case.
Due to the shutdown, many hospitals and medical offices are seeing fewer patients or closing their doors altogether. Regardless, accident victims must still be able to seek medical treatment and therapy so as not to delay medical treatment or impact the financial outcome of a personal injury lawsuit.
Regardless of the circumstances, if you are in the midst of a personal injury claim, you must continue to make and keep your appointments with medical providers and therapists. Failure to do so could impact the outcome of your case.
A reputable personal injury lawyer knows the medical facilities that are still seeing patients, while also maintaining a safe and clean environment. If you need a referral to a medical practice that is still operating and accepting non-COVID patients, please give us a call.
Dealing with insurance has become even more difficult.
Because so many people are working from home, including employees of insurance companies, accident victims are experiencing longer wait times in getting an adjuster out to look at damaged property or in getting into a rental vehicle. An experienced attorney knows how to pierce the automated phone system and get what you need from the insurance company.
Will a Texas court hear my case?
A vast majority of personal injury cases settle before going to trial, but some cases require a lawsuit. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals issued an emergency order modifying and suspending certain provisions relating to court proceedings. On April 27, Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht issued the Twelfth Emergency Order renewing and amending previous emergency orders regarding court operation guidelines. The current executive order, which limits in-person court proceedings at local courthouses may be found here.
Here are some of the key elements of the Twelfth Executive Order:
- To avoid risk to court staff, parties, attorneys, jurors and the public, judges in all case types may modify or suspend deadlines and procedures for a period ending no later than 30 days after the Governor’s state of disaster has been lifted.
- Judges may allow anyone involved in any hearing or deposition to participate remotely, such as by teleconferencing, videoconferencing or other means.
- Judges may consider evidence as sworn testimony given remotely such as by teleconferencing or videoconferencing.
- In-person proceedings should be delayed until at least June 1.
- Essential proceedings that cannot reasonably be held remotely may be held so long as no more than 10 persons are gathered in the courtroom or areas around the courtroom, participants must wear face coverings must occur in-person Courts are prohibited from conducting any in-person proceeding contrary to guidance issued regarding social distancing, maximum group size and other restrictions.
While there are several restrictions regarding court proceedings, personal injury attorneys with available resources may continue to pursue your claim without interruption. The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare is equipped and prepared to advance our clients’ claims without delay.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, accidents still happen and people are still being injured. If you have suffered an injury in an accident of any kind, you need an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer who can help you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. During this time, an attorney can also help you collect money from different sources more quickly. Keep in mind that insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying you, but a knowledgeable personal injury attorney will be able to get you the financial help you need — far more quickly than you ever could on your own.
Despite restrictions on court cases in Texas to limit the spread of COVID-19, the attorneys and staff at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare remain committed and available to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome in their case. Give us a call to schedule your Free consultation today.
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