How Could the COVID-19 Response Affect my Personal Injury Claim?

Your LJBLegal Team is taking a proactive approach to providing continued legal services to our current and prospective clients. Our team is prepared and confident in our ability to continue to serve you to the best of our ability.

Your case is important and is not being put on hold.

If you have been injured in an accident, you have many concerns. First, if you are unable to work and pay your medical bills, you may be depending on the resolution of your personal injury claim to feed your family and pay your living expenses.

As you may already know, the spread of COVID-19 has led to court closures across the country and specifically in Louisiana. 

Additionally, Louisiana is under a stay-at-home order and all non-essential workplaces are closed.How will Covid-19 affect my Personal Injury case?

What does the COVID-19 Pandemic and Closures Mean for your Accident Case?

A few things:

  1. Because of court closures in Louisiana, personal injury lawsuits are not proceeding to trial and other case matters are not being heard by a judge – except in emergency situations.
  2. Because of the stay-at-home order and restrictions on non-essential businesses, many other case functions are either not occurring, utilizing alternate means, or experiencing delays. 
    1. For example, in-person depositions are limited but depending on the circumstances, we can do these over the telephone. 
    2. Likewise, many medical providers are rightfully focused on the current situation and not able to respond timely to requests.   
  3. As your personal injury attorney, we are ensuring for those cases in discovery - the process continues.
  4. If you were injured in a car accident or suffered an injury that you where you were not at fault, you normally have a one year limit to file a lawsuit. These deadlines and/or statutes of limitations have been extended, but you should still not delay in filing your claim if you cannot obtain a fair settlement.

What about medical treatment during the crisis?

Probably the most important issue within your control is continuing your medical treatment. 

Medical treatment is necessary for you to (1) get better hopefully, and (2) document the true impact your injury has on your life.  But, how does this work with the stay-at-home order?

Medical facilities are still open for emergency situations – so if you are experiencing an emergency, please seek appropriate care. 

Other non-hospital facilities continue to operate for routine care.  So, for example, family doctors, pain management, chiropractors, physical therapist, and others remain operational and are taking necessary precautions. 

Here’s the important point though: to receive full value for your claim, you MUST receive any and all doctor-recommended treatment. 

One concern is that fear or uncertainty will keep you from your medical appointments because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Unfortunately, fear of this virus, as a reason for not receiving medical treatment after an accident, will not change the fact that the treatment is needed.  The stay-at-home order specifically exempts medical appointments from the order.

Our recommendation is this – call your provider and ask if they are seeing patients. Verify the precautions they are taking to prevent the spread of the virus.  And, ask what you can do to minimize your exposure when you visit. 

The important thing is to be diligent about getting treatment.

If for some reason you cannot get an appointment, perhaps due to the coronavirus, then you need to keep us fully informed, and be diligent about trying to get the first available appointment that you can. 

Again, without treatment, we simply cannot PROVE the extent of personal injuries (something we are required to do, with medical records showing all doctor-recommended treatment).

We recommend taking all necessary precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control - like sitting a good distance from others, washing your hands frequently, not touching your face, and asking your providers whether they are sick. 

But keeping your medical appointments is still very important to personal injury case value, and that’s not going to change, unfortunately.

For the protection of you and our team members, we not seeing clients in the office at this time, but are diligently working on our cases.  If you have any questions or concerns about your case, give our office a call at 985-240-9773.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Nationally recognized attorney dedicated to fighting life's legal battles with compassion and care
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