Nearly everyone has been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important for people to understand how this might impact the legal industry because the pandemic could have a major impact on the legal landscape. The reality is that even though COVID-19 has shut down the workplace, many people are going to continue to suffer injuries at work, in slip and fall accidents, and in car accidents. While someone can still bring a personal injury claim seeking compensation for their injuries, the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the court system significantly.
The Courts Are Shut Down
Like many other areas, the courts have closed except for cases that involve emergencies. This means that many cases, including criminal cases that usually have priority, are being pushed back. If there is an emergency hearing that has to take place, particularly one that involves medical treatment for someone, this is being heard on an emergency basis. This means that people are basically going to virtual court, where both sides will present their arguments over video conferencing technology. Then, the judge will issue his or her decision. Because personal injury cases are rarely seen as emergencies, they are being pushed back.
Personal Injury Cases Are Being Delayed
Because personal injury cases are not seen as emergencies, they are being delayed. What does this mean for the people involved? The biggest impact is that any trial is going to be delayed significantly. It is incredibly difficult to hold a trial over video conferencing, particularly when it comes to the jury. As a result, it will take a long time for personal injury cases to see the inside of a courtroom. This means that it is more likely that these cases are going to be settled. The two sides have more time to come to an agreement, so settling is simply more likely.
The Process Is Not Efficient
Now, this doesn’t mean that personal injury cases are going to be resolved quickly. With more time to settle, both sides have more time to prepare their arguments, find evidence, and try to strengthen their position. Therefore, anyone who is filing a personal injury case during this time has to be ready for the long haul.