How Will the Coronavirus Affect My Personal Injury Case? By: Spencer Aronfeld
Status of Legal Proceedings
One major disruption of the COVID-19 outbreak has been the delay of certain legal proceedings. However, the federal courthouse is still open and accepting filings. Our firm has and continues to file personal injury cases against the major cruise lines, even as many of them try to get cases against them stayed. The cruise line industry and their legal teams are working hard to have the court allow them to not respond to filings against them.
Under an administrative order issued by Chief Justice Bertila Soto of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, only mission-critical or emergency hearings will be heard during this time. The initial period was set to expire on March 27 but has recently been extended through April 20, unless a remote appearance technology platform has been implemented before that time. At that point, non-emergency court proceedings will be able to be held remotely, although jury trials will likely still be suspended until the COVID-19 crisis lessens.
While emergency hearings may be the only actual hearings being heard, the Florida Supreme Court has issued an order that most legal business can continue. Depositions can still be done electronically, and the oath to tell the truth can be issued to parties remotely, as well.
Our firm has been involved in significant litigation just this week against the cruise companies to keep lawsuits going. We have continued to file lawsuits during this time. Our attorneys are working remotely, and the attorneys representing the cruise lines continue to work remotely. While trials may not be able to occur, all the groundwork can be laid, including depositions, discovery, and filing of other motions.
Time Is of the Essence and Pressure to Settle
Keep in mind that the attorneys representing cruise companies are some of the most sophisticated defendants in the world. They are aware that you may be under additional financial pressure and may use this as an incentive to get you to settle. So many of us are under a great financial uncertainty, not sure how bills will be paid from month-to-month, and the possibility of receiving a lump sum payment from the insurance company may be tempting to many litigants. Do not cave into that temptation. If you receive an offer and are not sure whether it is in your best interest to accept or wait, contacting a personal injury attorney is always recommended.
Receiving Medical Treatment
Receiving proper medical treatment is paramount for any personal injury case. Stay in touch with your medical provider to see if they are still holding your regularly scheduled appointments. If you are going through physical therapy for your injuries, continue receiving that therapy if you are well and the office is still open. If you discontinue receiving your regular care for injuries caused by the accident that led to you to file a personal injury case but you are still able to do so, the insurance company may use this as proof that you are not as injured as you claim and may prevent you from receiving maximum medical improvement (MMI). Reaching MMI gives a full picture of what damages you will receive in your case. This may be additional incentive to hold off on settling on your case until this point is reached. Continue taking care of yourself and documenting your injuries and how your progress is going, and as always, remain in communication with your attorney.
The safety and well-being of our clients and team has and continues to be Aronfeld Trial Lawyers top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our offices remain fully operational and our team stands ready to represent the needs of our clients through these difficult times. If you need us, we are available 24/7 via phone at (305) 441-0440, live chat on aronfeld.com, Skype or FaceTime.
Aronfeld Trial Lawyers