This is an incredibly difficult and challenging time for all of us — in California and around the world. The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed our lives, from how we work to how we shop and even how we can spend time with our loved ones.
Yet in many ways, life goes on as normal. For example, car accidents are still happening throughout the state. So what do you do if you’re in a collision during the pandemic?
It is important to know that California personal injury lawyers are considered essential during this time. You can still consult with an attorney (over the phone or video conferencing) if you have been hurt in an accident. You can also still receive both emergency and ongoing medical care.
However, other aspects of the pandemic — such as court closures — may affect how quickly your case is resolved. While you can still file a personal injury lawsuit, it may take longer for a court to address the issues in your case or for your Glendale car accident attorney to present your case to a jury. Read on to learn more about coronavirus and car accidents.
Can I Still Get Medical Treatment?
Too often, car accidents result in serious injuries that necessitate urgent medical care. Even relatively minor crashes may result in an injury that requires ongoing care from doctors, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals. Yet with the spread of coronavirus across the United States, many people are justifiably concerned about the safety of going to the emergency room or even seeking care from their regular providers.
In California, the shelter-in-place order issued by Governor Newsom specifically allows essential services to remain open. Healthcare is considered an essential service. As such, if you need emergent or routine medical care, you can still receive it.
However, there may be some changes as to how you receive care. When possible, medical providers are urged to use telehealth services. These virtual appointments allow you to stay home while getting medical care. Telehealth is most frequently used for routine care, minor illnesses, mental health, and even physical therapy (done over video conferencing).
If you need emergency medical care, you can still receive it. In fact, you may even be able to access care more quickly than you otherwise would. Hospitals across the United States have reported a 50% decline in visits to the emergency room. This is largely due to the stay-at-home order and fears of contracting the coronavirus.
After a car accident, do not let worry about COVID-19 prevent you from seeking treatment. It is vital to both your health and your legal claim that you get medical care as soon as possible after a collision. Hospitals are taking precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including:
- Checking the vital signs of all patients;
- Having a separate area for suspected COVID-19 cases;
- Requiring all patients to wear masks; and
- Limiting or prohibiting visitors.
If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, these precautions will reduce the likelihood that you will contract coronavirus while in the emergency department.
Will Court Closures Affect My Case?
The California court system has strictly limited business in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. While both law firms and the courts themselves are considered essential, courts across the state have postponed trials and taken other measures on a county-by-county basis.
Currently, there is a statewide order that suspends all jury trials for 60 days; this order was issued on March 28, 2020. Individual counties have issued their own orders. For example, Los Angeles County has issued orders that change the way that time is calculated for filing papers with the court and extended the time limit for filing civil lawsuits.
For individuals involved in personal injury cases, this may mean that it will take longer to resolve your claim if a lawsuit has been filed or if you are planning to file a lawsuit. Where possible, courts are holding hearings and other proceedings via video conference. However, because jury trials have been postponed at least until the end of May, this may put off the final resolution of your case.
Most personal injury claims are resolved without going to trial. In many situations, negotiations between your Glendale car accident attorney and the at-fault driver’s insurance company may lead to a settlement before a lawsuit is even filed. Even if a legal claim is filed, your lawyer will continue to aggressively negotiate on your behalf throughout the pre-trial process.
As a result, your collision claim may not be impacted by court closures. If you have questions about how the coronavirus will affect your claim based on measures courts in your county have taken, contact your lawyer directly to discuss the details.
Hurt in a Car Accident? We Can Help.
This pandemic is scary and overwhelming. If you have been in a car accident, your worry may only be increased. Fortunately, you can still seek both medical and legal help during this time.
At Megeredchian Law, we are devoted to helping individuals who have been hurt in all types of accidents — including during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will advocate for you throughout the process, working to get you the best possible recovery. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 818-530-1300.