The coronavirus has already shut down schools and businesses, emptied out grocery stores, and overwhelmed hospitals across the nation. Is it possible that the coronavirus will affect your car accident case, too?
In all likelihood, yes.
Many businesses are now working with reduced staff to prevent COVID-19 from ransacking the office, and it would be naive to assume that any areas of our lives will remain unaffected by this pandemic.
We here at Sunshine State Law Firm understand any confusion, fear, and uncertainty you may be feeling. But we also believe that being mentally prepared can alleviate anxiety.
Here are a few ways that the coronavirus may affect your car accident case.
1. Medical treatment may be hard to come by.
COVID-19 has been causing hospitals to become overwhelmed with patients. How does this affect your car accident case?
Well, if you are involved in a serious accident during this time, you may wait longer for treatment at a hospital or urgent care center, as coronavirus cases are usually the first priority. If you have been receiving medical care for a past accident, you might have to wait for an appointment if your doctors and/or specialists are overwhelmed.
Even if your doctor’s visits are unaffected, you will need to take precautions so that you stay as healthy as possible while you’re there.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that insurance companies or juries will accept “I didn’t want to bother the doctors or catch coronavirus” as a good enough excuse for skipping medical treatment following an accident.
If you are worried about how an overworked healthcare system will affect your car accident case, your auto accident attorney should be able to advise you and advocate for you. We can help connect you with doctors that specialize in your specific injuries so that you don’t get expose yourself by seeking treatment at the hospital for your car crash injuries.
2. Your case may be prolonged.
Schools have closed; retail stores are closing early; courthouses seem to be following suit. Insurance companies also seem to be working in a limited remote status, so it may be harder to get a hold of them to demand settlements.
So if you have been awaiting a court date to resolve your car accident case, expect to keep waiting indefinitely.
This may mean an increase in out-of-court settlements, but at the very least, it will likely mean that your car accident case may last longer than normal. Even when courts and insurance companies are back in session, there will undoubtedly be delays as they struggle to hear the backlog of cases that built up during the quarantine.
3. Insurance coverage may get worse.
If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that we should be prepared for things that are out of our control. But some people don’t learn as easily as others.
As businesses and offices remain closed, some people might start to worry about how they will pay their bills on less income. Which could mean reduced auto insurance coverage.
If you get into an accident caused by someone with only the bare minimum of insurance coverage, you might not have enough coverage for serious injuries.
You can’t control the type of insurance coverage that other Florida drivers have, but you can control your own. Speak to your car insurance agent to make sure you have an updated policy that reflects your current and future needs.
4. You may feel pressured to settle.
For many of you, you are the family worried about how they will pay their bills while in quarantine. This may cause you to accept the first offer from the insurance company without considering whether it’s enough.
Don’t let panic and desperation coerce you into accepting the insurance company’s first offer! Their first offer is never the best one and—while we can’t prove this—it wouldn’t surprise us to hear that they will be seizing this opportunity to settle as many cases as quickly as they can (and at the least expense).
Fewer court hearings and an increase in settlement offers means one thing: you need an auto accident attorney! An attorney can be the defining factor in getting a higher settlement offer for your car accident injuries.
The spread of COVID-19 has led many otherwise level-headed people to panic, but with a little bit of foresight and a lot of common sense, we will all weather the storm and live to #ShineOn another day.
Do, don’t let the virus panic you. Stay home as much as possible and practice good hygiene habits to prevent the spread of the disease.
Remember, this will pass and things will eventually return to normal. And when they do, it will be a huge relief to have a legal expert on your side who can help get your car accident case back on track.
Call Sunshine State Law Firm for a free consultation (over the phone, of course!) so we can discuss your case.