Personal Injury: A COVID-19 Response
March 31, 2020
As Dallas and surrounding communities adapt to life in the era of the global COVID-19 pandemic, one thing has become clear – there’s not an industry or professional practice that won’t be impacted in some way, shape or form. From restaurants to medical practices, retail to real estate, no one in immune from its impact. And that includes legal proceedings.
If you’ve been recently injured or have an ongoing case, you may be wondering how the onset of COVID-19 will impact your case. Some individuals may even wonder about their legal options should they or a family member contract the disease. Here’s what you need to know about how COVID-19 may impact victims and current and future personal injury cases.
Court Closures for Existing Cases – At Chad West, PLLC, our cases rarely go all the way to litigation and are typically settled prior to trial. That being said, our local courts are closed for the time being to decrease the risk of community spread of the virus. If your case requires a court visit, our staff will keep you informed about reset dates.
Receiving Medical Treatment – If you are currently receiving treatment for a personal injury, we strongly encourage you to continue receiving your treatments as best you can. Should clinics close or drastically cut their hours, making it difficult to even get an appointment, please keep us informed. We want to ensure that our clients are supported throughout their treatment. That includes making sure that an insurance provider can’t claim that you as our client failed to pursue medical treatment for your injuries rendering you negligent in some way. Receiving treatment for your injuries helps us prove damages. Should you be unable to attend an appointment for any reason, please keep us informed.
Timeliness of Treatment – No matter what’s going on in the world, if you are injured, the worst thing you can do is WAIT to pursue treatment or a personal injury claim. In the event of a severe injury requiring treatment in an emergency room setting, please seek treatment. Take precautions as you are able (wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing) but don’t refrain from seeking the treatment that you need. Insurance companies begin their investigations right away, typically within 48 hours. If you have been severely injured, it is imperative that you receive treatment early in the process. Delaying treatment can result in a more limited recovery.
COVID-19 Related Cases – At this time, it is unclear exactly what the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic will be for workers compensation claims or wrongful death suits. There may be cases in which workers or victim families can pursue damages for COVID-19 illness IF employers were negligent in their handling of worker health and safety during the outbreak resulting in illnesses. If you receive a regular wage or salary, there’s a good chance you are covered for eligible for workers’ compensation in the event of illness or injury resulting from your job. If your employer fails to adequately protect you from illness or harm, you may have a case. While it remains to be seen how widespread the damage will be, there’s no doubt that healthcare workers such as EMTs, nursing home caretakers and hospital staff may have some recourse if they can prove damages.
Regardless of how long the COVID-19 outbreak lasts, we are committed to guiding all our clients through the storm. Got a question about your case? Wondering how to protect your rights in the event of an injury? Please call us.