Personal injuries never come at a convenient time. They happen even during a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to daily life and the infrastructure of cities such as Glendale. One change is in how the court system operates for personal injury claims. While you can still file an injury claim during the pandemic in Arizona, the legal process will look substantially different than how it did in January or February. You may need a personal injury attorney in Glendale to guide you through the new normal.
How Your Claim Could Be Impacted
The main health concern while resolving personal injury cases is social distancing. The COVID-19 virus spreads fastest through person-to-person contact. One of the first measures to go into place in Arizona was to encourage citizens to stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cities also implemented social distancing measures at essential business, requiring everyone to stay at least six feet apart. During your personal injury claim, expect to use video chat and other technologies to speak with your attorney and others rather than having in-person meetings.
The pandemic could also impact your claim by pressuring you to settle. It might seem like the best option to accept a quick settlement offered by an insurance company during these difficult times – especially if the pandemic has negatively impacted your income. Yet it could be much better for your future to wait until you are sure the amount you accept is fair. Resist the temptation to say yes to the first settlement offered. Instead, go to an attorney to learn the true value of your injury claim.
Should I Seek Medical Attention for My Injuries?
The COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak has flooded hospitals throughout the US with hundreds of thousands of sick patients. This not only means fewer beds available and longer wait times for other patients, but also an increased risk of contracting the virus while at a hospital. Despite difficulties posed by the pandemic, however, you should not wait to seek medical attention for your personal injuries after an accident.
Waiting to go to the emergency room or see your primary care provider could negatively impact your insurance claim. While you may be able to argue extenuating circumstances as the reason for your delay, an insurance company may still try to use it to allege that you contributed to the current extent of your injuries. Go to the hospital for necessary medical care immediately after an accident even with the pandemic. Continue attending follow-up appointments and therapies until you reach your point of maximum medical improvement.
Noncritical health care may do best to wait. You may not want to put your health or safety at further risk with an in-person visit that is not paramount. Many doctors in Arizona are also using telehealth services to continue treating patients remotely. Document all of your medical care for your injury claim.
Changes to Arizona Courts During the Pandemic
Once you are ready to submit your injury claim to the Arizona courts, prepare for a much different legal process than before the pandemic. Delays in claim processing due to the pandemic may mean much longer wait times to file a claim and receive your court date. Jury trials have only recently returned in Maricopa County, with courthouse changes and some jurors possibly serving from home. Delays may also mean having a longer statute of limitations to file a personal injury case, although Arizona lawmakers have so far stayed silent on this matter.
Currently, you may not make an in-person visit to a courthouse in Arizona for a civil case unless the court orders you to appear. Expect a large portion of your personal injury case to be executed via remote technologies, such as Zoom and videoconferencing. If you do participate in an in-person hearing, you must wear a face covering, undergo a health screening and take other special measures in light of COVID-19. A personal injury lawyer can give you more details about what to expect from an injury claim during the pandemic.