It’s no secret that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected people around the globe in more ways than we can count. But it’s also changing lives in ways beyond the obvious.
The virus has dramatically shifted the legal world’s status quo for personal injury cases. And not only are personal injury cases handled differently during the trial, but the process of getting to court and receiving a verdict has also changed.
Below, we will examine how COVID affects personal injury cases, how the virus has made trials more challenging in Ocala, FL, and how you can fight through these new obstacles and present your personal injury lawsuit as effectively as possible.
How COVID-19 Is Affecting Florida
Standard legal proceedings have changed across the country in the wake of COVID-19. However, residents of Ocala and the neighboring cities in Florida have an especially challenging time reaching a law firm and taking their cases to court.
Florida was one of the hardest-hit states in the country in 2020 during COVID-19’s initial wave. In mid-July of that year, the state reported over 15,000 cases in a single day, the highest number in the country at the time. And while case data in Florida and throughout the United States fluctuates, the virus has not gone away.
The Florida court systems are still functioning, and you can still find an experienced personal injury attorney in Ocala to assist you through your case. However, courts and attorneys are operating differently now in a few key ways.
Higher Demand for Medical Care
Personal injury victims need to receive medical treatment as soon as possible to maximize how much they receive in court. If you wait too long, some of your injuries might partially heal, and doctors will not be able to document the full extent of your wounds. However, it is more challenging to schedule an appointment with a doctor now than it’s ever been.
Florida physicians and hospitals have a long list of appointments with patients requiring COVID-19 treatment. Unfortunately, that leads to many accident victims either scrambling to find an available medical professional or waiting longer than they should for an appointment.
Virtual Medical and Injury Attorney Consultations
One significant and obvious way COVID-19 has affected personal injury lawsuits is how it’s moved most of the process online.
Hospitals and medical offices across Ocala, FL, have changed their appointment methods during the pandemic. Since their staff are spread thin and struggling to keep up with fluctuating COVID cases, many medical consultations are performed online for quicker turnarounds. Additionally, online consultations minimize your risk of exposure to the virus.
Meeting with a medical professional is still essential for personal injury cases. However, your physician might assess your injuries via video call rather than in their office.
Virtual appointments are standard for attorneys now as well. Lawyers will still consult with you in great detail about your personal injury case before the trial. However, rather than doing so in their law firm, many request that you meet via a secure video call.
Extended Case Windows
Personal injury cases were a time-consuming process even before the global pandemic. However, with depleted resources and a backlog of cases, trials take longer to progress through now than ever before.
Florida courts have modified their procedures to combat COVID-19. And while that has made trial settings safer, it also means that courts move through fewer cases and are liable to close without notice if an employee falls ill or cases begin to spike.
Because of this unpredictability, many personal injury victims opt for an out-of-trial settlement to save time and relieve stress. However, even settlements have changed because of COVID-19.
Fluctuating Settlement Agreements
The unfortunate reality of how COVID affects personal injury cases is that many victims don’t receive favorable settlements because defendants are short on funds.
Businesses across Florida have either shut down for an extended time for COVID safety precautions or have gone out of business altogether. Even now, nearly two years after the beginning of the pandemic, the economy is relatively unstable.
Many Ocala employees have lost their jobs, and many Florida business owners have filed for bankruptcy because of COVID. As a result, many victims don’t receive the settlement offers they would with better economic conditions.
Taking a personal injury case to trial would likely net higher payments if the judge or jury sides with the victim. However, as we explained, court proceedings take longer to complete than ever before. Additionally, the court setting itself is more stressful than it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Stressful Trial Environments
Stress is at an all-time high worldwide with the pandemic, especially in court settings. Not only are courtrooms full of individuals who might carry the virus, but once the trial begins, many of those same people determine which way your verdict goes.
People in motor vehicle collisions or any other accident that brought them bodily harm just want to move on from that traumatic experience quickly. But with the courts moving slowly in recent years, that hasn’t been possible. And with the added stressors of money on the line and your physical health at risk, tempers can rise without warning.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney to Learn More
Navigating a personal injury case before the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging enough. However, with the virus continuing to slow down trials and create additional barriers, court proceedings are demanding events that many might decide are not worth the hassle.
Pam Olsen Law in Ocala, FL, is here to help you through the stressors of personal injury cases in the era of COVID-19. We will help you overcome these new obstacles and build a compelling case for damages from your personal injury accident. Although the world has not fully moved on from COVID, we can help you move on from a traumatic personal injury case.
Contact us today at (352) 671-9777 to schedule a consultation or learn more about how COVID affects personal injury cases.
Ms. Olsen has practiced law since 1992. During her law school education and throughout career she knew, if it is not about people, she is not interested. Everything about people interests Ms. Olsen from the simple details of living to the most profound. She began her law career in a skyscraper in downtown Miami representing corporate interests. Within a VERY short time, Pam knew that side of the things in the world was not for her.