It’s hard to know when the COVID-19 pandemic will finally end, and when our daily lives will go back to normal.
COVID-19 affects public health and safety, but it also affects the economy. All forms of businesses, including law firms, are adapting to the new normal brought about by the pandemic.
How COVID-19 affects the legal system
Adverse effects of the pandemic are being seen inside the courtroom: there’s a decrease in legal cases, depositions are being canceled, hearings postponed, and the deadlines for submissions are being extended.
The practice of Law is usually driven forward with a sense of urgency. However, most cases are not moving as quickly as they should due to the restraints caused by the pandemic. Not only that, but this pandemic affects lawyers’ income as well as their daily routine.
Law firms can’t simply transfer their operations to a remote work environment. There are privacy and compliance issues that need to be taken into consideration. In turn, these challenges affect the normal work flow of attorneys. Whatsmore, many cases require in-court appearances which are not ideal under the current circumstances.
All parties involved have their own considerations that need to be addressed. For example, elders and high risk individuals are not able to attend hearings in person or meet with their lawyers face to face. Essential activities inside the court are being canceled or postponed.
Personal injury lawyers working on contingency cases are the most affected by the postponement and cancellation of cases. Since lawyers working on a contingency basis only collect fees when cases are settled, it takes a long time for these lawyers to earn an income under normal circumstances. Postponements and cancellations are delaying this process even further.
Clients are concerned about medical-related personal injuries
And rightfully so! Since COVID-19 poses health risks, medical-related insurance claims have increased. Insurance policies can be difficult to navigate without the additional burden of a global pandemic, so it’s important to work with a local lawyer you can trust to explain what your policy covers and what it excludes during COVID-19.
In New York, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order granting qualified immunity to medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients. This order will likely decrease personal injury cases for malpractice as well as other medical-related personal injury lawsuits in New York.
In Georgia, however, it is not yet clear what will be covered during COVID-19. It was reported that Georgia lawyers and insurers should prepare themselves for an onslaught of personal injury claims. Thus, if you have a case in Duluth, Georgia, seek counsel from Duluth personal injury attorneys.
High demand for employment and business-related personal injuries
An estimated 38.6 million people in America have filed for unemployment since March. The pandemic has negatively affected employees’ working hours and income as well. Despite the rise in unemployment, employment-related personal injury cases have increased.
If you’re an accident lawyer, it’s tough to navigate through ever-changing employment terms and complex injury claims against employers. There is an immediate need to cater to clients who were laid-off or fired due to the pandemic. These clients must understand and enforce their rights when it comes to severance pay, unemployment, non-compete clauses, and other employment-related policies.
Businesses are also affected by the pandemic. For instance, there is an increase in business-related lawsuits in California. These lawsuits are generally claims against owners who allegedly fail to take specific precautions against the risk of the virus.
One could argue that personal injury lawyers in California are getting more business-related personal injury claims than normal. Many claimants from different cities in the Golden State, like San Francisco are working with lawyers to file for compensation.
There is also an increase in collection cases with personal injury claims. Business owners might ramp up collection cases due to forbearance, defaults, or payment plans.
Enforcing personal injury claim in a bankruptcy
Government-mandated social distancing measures have prompted business shutdowns, unemployment, and difficulty in paying loans throughout the country. With this, businesses and citizens are filing for bankruptcy. The increase in these circumstances can result in failure to pay debts and personal injury claims.
Filing for bankruptcy has adverse effects on a personal injury claim. The personal injury lawyer should be informed immediately once a company files for bankruptcy. Those filing for bankruptcy must disclose the pending case during a personal injury lawsuit. Claimants may be liable for bankruptcy fraud if they fail to do so.
States have different laws regarding personal injury claims pending bankruptcy. In New York, the personal injury compensation exemption is only up to $8,275. On the other hand, in California, personal injury compensation for wrongful injury or death judgment is exempt from bankruptcy claims.
The U.S. legal system has been greatly affected by the pandemic. Although there is a decrease in personal injury claims for car accidents, there is an increase in employment, business, and medical-related personal injury claims. The risk for car accidents has lessened, but the need for personal injury attorneys is more pronounced than ever during this global health crisis.
Kevin Moore is a freelance writer who specializes in writing law articles. Because of his interest in it, he has in-depth knowledge about the ins and outs of the legal industry. During his free time, Kevin relaxes by watching true crime documentaries.