The unprecedented circumstances precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in an unpredictable situation for ongoing and new legal cases. Considering the unfavorable economic conditions brought on by the pandemic-induced disruptions, it is more important than ever for personal injury victims to seek and secure fair and full compensation.
In these uncertain times, confusion and anxiety about their compensation claims are normal for personal injury victims. In the middle of these conditions, victims can still negotiate with insurers or pursue compensation claims with competent legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney in Virginia.
If you are contemplating filing a claim for your personal injuries resulting from an accident, you must discuss how COVID-19 will affect your case, with a Virginia personal injury lawyer. Meanwhile, let us address some pertinent concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic and its repercussions on personal injury claims and lawsuits.
The Impact Of COVID-19 On Statute of Limitations in a Virginia Personal Injury Claim
Typically, in a case of personal injuries caused in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, the law allows you two years from the injury date to file a claim. For any personal injuries or fatalities that occurred in the early part of the pandemic, the statute of limitations will run till the early part of 2022.
This means that individuals and entities may continue to face claims and lawsuits for many years after the end of the pandemic. As a victim, it is vital that you begin the claim process as soon as possible, even if there are stay-at-home orders in place.
Tolling and Extension of Statutes of Limitations During COVID-19
In an executive order, Governor Northam declared a State of Emergency on March 12, 2020 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. There were five more extensions of the emergency order by the Supreme Court, tolling the deadlines.
The tolling period was from March 16, 2020 to July 19, 2020 (126 days), with no further extension. The statutes of limitations in Virginia are subject to these 126 days of tolling period, with time computation to restart on July 20, 2020.
Statutes of limitation are precise with respect to their expiry on a certain date, and therefore it is crucial to understand the extension and tolling mechanism.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Your Virginia Personal Injury Case
In these pandemic times, courts, attorneys, and insurance offices are all following social distancing norms as part of medical protocol. These safety measures impose limitations on the working of courts and attorneys, delaying the progress of your lawsuit.
Additionally, patients affected by coronavirus are a top priority for medical institutions and hospitals in these tough times. This could also translate into delays in the treatment and therapies for your personal injuries.
Limitations During the COVID-19 Crisis
In case of injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, you must get an assessment by a doctor or healthcare provider immediately after the accident. This is an important part of the process of gathering medical records that can act as crucial evidence in your compensation claim. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, a timely appointment with a physician or healthcare specialist can be relatively challenging.
The healthcare system in the state is still capable of taking care of patients in emergencies other than those caused by COVID-19. However, many Virginia residents are wary of visiting a doctor for medical assessment, out of fear of exposure to the virus. Hospital emergency departments are looking at far fewer trauma injury and cardiac arrest cases due to patients’ concern about the virus exposure.
Many are not even visiting doctor’s offices and outpatient departments because of similar fears, not realizing that failure to seek medical assessment may harm their personal injury claim. You should at least explore telemedicine options involving virtual consultation with the doctor over a video call.
However, a virtual teleconference may not be enough to assess your injuries in some cases. You must seek guidance from a Virginia personal injury lawyer about your options on how to gather medical evidence, and your treatment options during the pandemic.
How is COVID-19 Affecting the Insurance Process in Personal Injury Cases?
Although the insurance companies are open while many other businesses remain shut due to the pandemic lockdowns, it might still not be easy to have an insurance adjuster visit the accident scene, as was the case prior to the virus outbreak. Businesses that are open might not be operating to their full capacity as they normally do because of several constraints in these difficult times.
Essential businesses that do not need to abide by the requirements of workforce reduction must still follow covid-compliant social distancing norms and other safety regulations. The pandemic has affected revenues of all businesses, resulting in layoffs and staff shortages.
You might have to face more wait times and delays in adjuster investigations and claim processing. Pandemic or no pandemic, you can be sure that the insurance company’s aim while evaluating your claim, will always be to deny or delay.
While any offer might seem appealing during these difficult times, you need to take the decision wisely, keeping your and your family’s interests in mind. Discuss the pros and cons of your case with a competent Virginia personal injury attorney before accepting any offer from the other party’s insurance company.
Talk to an Experienced and Capable Personal Injury Attorney
If you are a victim of an accident and need guidance and support with your personal injury compensation claim, a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney at Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp, can speak with you regarding the details of your case and your legal options.
If you are anxious about repercussions of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on your personal injury claim in Virginia, give us a call at 800-752-0042 to schedule a free consultation. You can also use our online contact form to contact us.