COVID 19 and Personal Injury: Part 1
June 18, 2020
COVID 19 has changed the way we live our lives. I would like to address some of the common concerns I encounter to help start the conversation on the injury victim’s options in a pandemic. This series will go through a variety of subjects and include helpful information for injury victims and others. Since the COVID 19 outbreak, we have been given various restrictions and recommendations to limit our social interactions and travel. These changes have resulted in less driving and closing of recreational businesses.
These closures and changes have been beneficial in decreasing the number of vehicle collisions and injuries on property of others (such as stores, malls, and clubs, to name a few). While the instance of auto collisions and recreational injury has decreased, those who do find themselves injured have a lot of questions about how the pandemic will affect their claim or case.
Some have expressed concern that court closures will prevent the victim from recovering compensation for injuries. For others, they may be concerned about suing someone even if they are seriously injured. This article gives some reassurance for both groups, because most cases in Colorado are resolved without a trial.
You are not required to file suit to get compensation for injuries. Many cases are settled with the at-fault party without ever bringing a formal court case, let alone waiting for the jury to determine the outcome. Settlement is the most common scenario for cases, because the insurance adjuster and others can be provided with the same proof that would be offered at trial and simply pay fair value for your losses. Since this information can assist the insurer or person in understanding the damages suffered, most cases are settled without anyone being sued.
Further, no one is required to sue, so in rare instances when settlement discussions are not productive, people can choose not to pursue the case. Only a fraction of cases will need to be brought to trial, because most disputes can be resolved either without filing suit, or after filing suit and prior to the trial date.
For victims who decide to have their case filed, it may not be necessary to wait for the trial court to award compensation. Often, attorneys will realize after some information is gathered in the “discovery” phase that the parties can agree on the fair amount of compensation for the case. At that point, the parties can discuss the fair amount for the claim and resolve the case without going forward with a trial.
The only filed cases, which may be delayed are those exceedingly rare cases, which cannot be settled prior to the court date. Those cases will be brought to trial as soon as the court allows. Courts are working diligently on additional measures to resume court cases as soon as possible. If your case is one that cannot be settled before trial, the case may be delayed but will go forward soon. In the meantime, interest for this period of delay might be recoverable from the defendant once you win at trial.
Be well and visit again soon for additional information about injury claims during the pandemic.
**Disclaimer: This post is meant for general informational purposes only and should not be misunderstood to be legal advice or any guarantee of a particular outcome. No post is a substitute for personal, case-specific legal analysis. Every injury and case has variable issues, which impact legal analysis and strategy, so you should obtain a legal consultation to discuss your situation. **