Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases in NJ

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.

Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases in NJIf 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?

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:

Insurance companies.

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.

Businesses.

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.

Courts.

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.

Uninsured drivers.

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 Kamensky, 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.

You can reach us at 609-528-2596 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.

Personal Injury Claim Settlements

In general, there are two possible ways for a person injured by the reckless or negligent actions of another party to secure a personal injury recovery, through a jury or trial judge verdict, or through a settlement with the responsible party and their insurance company. However, the U.S. government estimates that only 4-5% of all personal injury claims in the U.S. actually go to trial, with the other ~95% ending in some kind of settlement.

While this may come as a surprise to many considering the common Hollywood portrayal of “the courtroom battle”, upon closer examination the benefits that a settlement can have for both sides of any personal injury claim become quite clear.

Hamilton Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss the Benefits of Settling Your Personal Injury Claim

One of the primary reasons that injured parties tend to resolve their personal injury claim through a settlement rather than seeking a trial verdict is the greatly reduced timeline involved. Presenting evidence to a court of law, debating that evidence with the opposing party, filing and responding to motions and requests for information, and awaiting a final decision can take months, if not several years. On the other hand, negotiating a fair settlement outside of a court of law can be a significantly faster process.

Considering the medical expenses that can result from a serious injury, and the potential that you may not be able to work in order to pay these expenses, this reduced timeline for securing a personal injury recovery can be extremely beneficial to you and your family in many situations.

Why Will the Insurance Company Want to Settle My Mercer County Personal Injury Claim?

So beyond the advantages you may find with settling your Mercer County personal injury claim, insurance companies are also incentive many times to settle your claim as well. Firstly, corporate legal counsel is not cheap, and the longer the insurance company needs to pay for their services to represent their interests during your personal injury claim, the more their own expenses begin to become prohibitive.

In addition, many insurance companies prefer the certainty of settling for a number they have some say in, rather than risking a highly unpredictable trial judge or jury verdict of which they have no control over.

Trenton Personal Injury Lawyers Help You to Secure a Fair Outcome

Importantly however, just because many personal injury claims result in a settlement rather than a jury or trial judge verdict, that doesn’t mean you have to settle your claim, or accept the first offer the insurance company makes for your claim. In fact, the insurance company’s first settlement offer will almost be an extremely unfair offer to you, as this offer is usually made before any real investigation into the full extent of your injuries and the resulting damages can be done, either by the insurance company or your Trenton Personal Injury lawyer.

Critically, as soon as you accept any settlement offer for your injuries, you can no longer pursue a personal injury claim for those same injuries should your damages prove to be higher than the offer you accepted. This means that the settlement you accept (if you do, and don’t decide to instead pursue a trial of some kind) needs to fully and fairly cover all of your damages, both present and future.

This is one of the many areas that retaining the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer can be of enormous benefit to you, as your attorney will be able to help you accurately determine how much you should be seeking in terms of medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, and then work with you and the insurance company of the liable party(s) to obtain full and fair compensation.

Contact Our Ewing Accident and Injury Attorneys Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys have extensive experience recovering injury compensation for our clients and their families in towns across New Jersey and Mercer County, including Hamilton, Lawrence, Trenton, Ewing, Princeton, and Pennington.

If you or a loved one has been injured by the reckless or negligent actions of another party in any kind of accident, including a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, a slip and fall, by a dangerous or poorly maintained property, by a defective product, or any other kind of accident, our firm is ready to provide you with the attentive, knowledgeable, and highly effective legal service that you need and deserve in such complex and life-changing matters.

To speak with our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your accident, your injuries, and how we can help you and your family to recover full and fair compensation through a settlement or a trial verdict, please contact us online, or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.