Though businesses and life, in general, are opening up lately, COVID-19 will have long-lasting effects on the courts and all the entities involved in a personal injury claim.
If you’ve been harmed in a car accident, in a slip and fall in a grocery store, or in any other circumstance where some other person or entity caused you injury on their property or anywhere else in New Jersey, you have the right to seek compensation for the medical bills, pain, and suffering that you endure by filing a personal injury claim.
There are some aspects of the courts, insurance companies, and businesses that have changed because of COVID-19, and that you need to be aware of under the unique circumstances. Know what to expect as you pursue your claim.
Is There a Limitation on When I Can File My Claim?
First and foremost, you need to be aware that the clock is ticking. You do not have unlimited time to file your claim.
Every state in the U.S. places a limit on how much time you can take to file a personal injury claim. The law that places this limit is known as a statute of limitations.
New Jersey’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases allows a person injured by a person or an entity two years to file a claim. Generally, the clock on that claim starts ticking on the day of the accident.
Though you may want to wait to collect all the doctor’s bills that accrue because of your injury, you must also keep in mind that if you don’t get your claim filed before two years is up, the courts will probably refuse to put your case on the docket. Your ability to gain compensation for your pain, suffering, and lost wages will, most likely, be lost unless there is an unusual circumstance that the court believes extends the deadline.
Don’t wait to file your claim because of COVID-19.
And don’t wait to file your claim because you feel that you don’t have enough money to pay legal fees. Remember that personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. They only get paid if the case is won.
My Personal Injury Case
Even during the height of the pandemic, when people mostly stayed home, there were still car accidents and slips and falls at grocery stores. Now that the economy and businesses are opening up, it’s unfortunate but likely that even more of these incidents will occur.
Pandemic or not, if you’ve suffered an injury that is not your fault, there are a few principles that you should follow:
· Take pictures early on and steadily thereafter.
· Keep a pain log daily that will document all that you endured.
· Get a medical evaluation immediately. Go to all your medical appointments.
· Documentation is key. It greatly improves your odds of getting compensation.
· Never speak with any person from the insurance company, including adjusters, before speaking to a personal injury lawyer.
How Does the Pandemic Affect My Case?
Even though restrictions have eased, COVID-19 is still having a profound effect on personal injury claims in four broad areas:
They are worried about lower profits because of the pandemic, and they are aggressive in reducing settlements. They may try to take advantage of the fact that people might be more desperate because of lost wages due to the pandemic, and they are likely to low-ball their first offer. People should not just leap at the first offer from an insurer because it probably won’t reimburse them for medical bills, pain and suffering. As both sides dig in, more personal injury cases may wind up before a judge than usual.
Due to COVID-19, more businesses than usual are filing for bankruptcy. This means that compensation you might have been able to gain from them will be reduced to pennies on the dollar.
New Jersey courts shut down and moved all proceedings onto technology platforms like Zoom because of COVID-19. Courts in New Jersey began to open up on June 22, 2021, but many hearings and procedures are still being conducted online. This means that personal injury cases might not be settled as quickly as they would in normal circumstances. Most PI cases get settled before trial, but many cases get at least one hearing in court, at least before a settlement is reached. Expect delays in getting your case settled.
Due to financial hardship during COVID-19, some drivers may have stopped paying for car insurance. This may complicate things for the victim of a car accident since they can’t be compensated by the driver’s insurance company. The victim may need to pursue compensation via the uninsured/underinsured driver policy through their insurer. A victim needs to be mindful that, in this instance, their insurer becomes an adversary and will resist paying. This kind of claim may be highly contested; the help of an attorney may be essential.
Don´t hesitate in contacting our Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you feel that you have the potential for a personal injury claim, please call Cohen & Riechelson today. Our capable personal injury lawyers can fight for you with the insurance companies trying to take advantage of people in desperate straits because of COVID-19. You will need the guidance of experienced attorneys to get the best possible settlement for you and your family.