The coronavirus pandemic has triggered lockdown measures across the country. Going about daily businesses, running errands, and more have all become complicated if not impossible. Even legal processes are not immune to the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns. In fact, with courts closing their doors for extended periods of time and minimizing their hours of operation each week, taking care of cases and claims has become more complicated than ever.
What happens if you get hit by a reckless driver or have some other kind of accident during a coronavirus lockdown, though? Can you still file a personal injury claim? If so, what do you do to make that happen under current circumstances?
Get Medical Attention
First, you need to know that it is still crucial for you to receive medical attention after an accident, even if you feel relatively fine. Heading to the doctor’s office or an urgent care facility amid the pandemic can be understandably frightening given the possible exposure to COVID-19. It is crucial, however, to seek medical treatment as necessary and to begin gathering medical documentation that will help your case.
With the coronavirus lockdowns going on for months now, medical centers have adapted new intake and care processes for patients to minimize their risks of being exposed to patients who are sick with the coronavirus. If you are not being taken to an emergency room via an ambulance, then you should call your urgent care center ahead of time to ask what additional precautions you can take to protect yourself. There might be mask and glove requirements or a specialized area for patients who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms.
Collect Evidence Where You Can
After an accident, the evidence you can collect can be the foundation of your claim. Where do you get it, though, without putting yourself at further risk of coronavirus exposure?
You can communicate with eyewitnesses who were at the scene through emails, text messages, and other digital resources. You should even be able to email your local police station if you need a copy of any police statements made at the scene of your accident.
In case you do need to head out into the world to obtain more evidence, keep social distancing guidelines in mind. For example, if you want to take photographs of where you were hit by another driver, then wear a facemask and stand apart from others whenever possible.
File Before Statutes Expire
A personal injury claim can be rejected by the court if it is filed after a statute of limitations expires. Some states have personal injury statutes of limitations as brief as just one year – and, in general, these statutes of limitations have not been extended due to the coronavirus.
If you are trying to wait out the lockdown before you file your claim, then you could run out of time. The better option is to speak with an attorney and get their help to file remotely. Some courtrooms are accepting new cases entirely online and through video teleconferencing apps. It is a completely safe way to get a claim filed without rushing to the courtroom and possibly exposing yourself to COVID-19.
Carlson & Burnett – Legal Champions Now Online
At Carlson & Burnett in Omaha, we have adapted quickly to the small and large changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns it triggered. Our personal injury team is always ready to hear from new clients who need help after an accident. By shifting the majority of our casework to remote, online methods, we can get your claim rolling without the need for in-person meetings if you prefer.
Don’t hesitate to start your injury claim just because of the pandemic. Call (402) 810-8611 or contact us online to learn more.