How Might the Coronavirus Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal daily life, complicating even the most basic tasks, such as food shopping. How will this affect your existing personal injury claim? What should you do if you are in an accident or injured during shelter-in-place orders?
At PKSD, our knowledgeable attorneys address your personal injury claim questions regarding court postponements, insurance delays and concerns about medical care.
If you suffered an injury due to another’s negligence, we encourage you to speak with a member of our legal team today to arrange for your free legal consultation. There is no face-to-face meeting required and no obligation to file a claim. If we take your case, you only pay us if we first obtain compensation for you.
Are Wisconsin Courts Open to Handle Cases?
Due to the state health emergency, The Supreme Court issued orders, effective from March 16, 2020, to discontinue statewide in-person proceedings and postpone jury trials. Where possible, essential court services will continue, utilizing video conferencing technology.
The Milwaukee County courthouse remains open, with very limited hours of operation, and can accept new filings from 12 noon through 2 p.m. daily. For those who should not file new claims in-person due to exposure concerns, such as those with a compromised auto-immune system, access to the electronic filing system is also available 24/7 online.
Additionally, a temporary mailbox has been created, and you can drop off your claims there, as long as the envelope is properly addressed and you include a check for the filing fee. Visit the Wisconsin Court System website for updates regarding further changes to courthouse operations during this period.
Insurance Companies May Further Delay Your Claim
Insurance companies are known to use a number of tactics to delay or deny a policyholder’s claims. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, they have found new ways to delay or deny your claim, including:
- Using the pandemic as an excuse for further delays – As insurers face a possible drop in profits due to the virus, they may be unwilling to easily settle your claim, or they may push back harder to further delay reaching a settlement agreement.
- Taking advantage of the rise in unemployment – A desperate policyholder, who may have lost his or her job due to the coronavirus crisis may be more willing to accept a lowball settlement to get money more quickly, even though it will likely not begin to cover the damages. Many injured victims who accept lowball offers may end up paying out of pocket when all is said and done.
- Denying your claim is valid due to mandatory stay-at-home orders – If your accident occurred during Wisconsin’s shelter-in-place restrictions, your insurance provider could attempt to deny your claim on the basis you were breaking the law. However, the courts are not likely to see this as a valid reason to deny your claim, and your attorney may be able to overturn the denial.
Should I Still Receive or Continue Medical Care?
After being involved in an accident, there are a couple of reasons to get examined by a medical professional during COVID-19 concerns. Seeking medical care immediately following an accident helps to:
- Protect your health – Not all injuries are visible. You could have suffered internal injuries that are serious or even life-threatening if not treated in time.
- Link your injuries to the accident – If you do have significant injuries, seeking medical care immediately creates an official record of your injuries and helps to link them to the accident. This is very helpful if you decide to pursue compensation for your damages later.
Many people are understandably wanting to avoid visiting emergency rooms, doctor’s offices or hospitals due to concerns about being exposed to the coronavirus. However, some injuries, such as a concussion, spinal cord injury or internal bleeding can only be diagnosed in person.
Health professionals are trained to follow CDC recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and they are also equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) to further help prevent exposure. It is important to set priorities for protecting your health, and if there is a chance you suffered a serious injury, it is important those injuries are discovered and treated.
If you have an existing claim and have been receiving ongoing treatment, such as physical therapy, it is important that you continue your prescribed plan of care. If you do not follow your physician’s recommendations, your insurer could argue that your injuries were not as serious as you initially stated, and your claim could then be devalued or denied.
Virtual Physician Care Options
If you are following up with your physician or attending physical therapy as part of your medical treatment, you may be able to see your doctor using some form of online video conferencing. This option may also be available for some new patients.
Check with your healthcare provider to see what options for virtual care may be available.
Follow CDC Guidelines For In-Person Appointments
If you do go to the hospital, emergency room or your doctor’s office, we strongly recommend that you wear your face mask and gloves, maintain social distancing while you are in the waiting area, avoid touching surfaces and keep your hands away from your face.
Why You Should Not Delay Seeking Legal Help
Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, we do not recommend that you delay seeking legal assistance for your personal injury claim. Your statute of limitations, or the date by which you need to file your injury claim, is still moving forward. While the filing deadlines for some claims may be pushed back because of the shutdown restrictions, it is only by a few weeks. Additionally, your claim’s filing deadline may not be included in that delay.
We welcome the opportunity to review the details of your potential claim in our free initial consultation. During this meeting we can discuss your legal options and determine what filing deadline may apply in your situation.
Call Us Today for Legal Assistance
At PKSD Law, we are dedicated to protecting your interests, fighting for your legal rights, and pursuing maximum compensation for your damages.
Our Milwaukee personal injury lawyers are prepared to handle your free legal consultation, process new claims and manage existing cases online. There is no need for you to visit our office or attend an in-person meeting. We do not charge fees up front or while we represent you, and we do not get paid unless you do.
Call our firm at: 877-877-2228 to get started today.