Personal Injury Practice during COVID-19

This entry was posted on Friday, June 12th, 2020 and is filed under Uncategorized.

“Even though California personal injury attorneys have been forced to work from home and maintain social distancing, it’s important they continue to stay hard at work for their clients”, as written in the interesting article ‘Effects of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Practice’ by Bill Karns on April 02, 2020 via ‘Law.com’. Find the full publication, top article takeaways and our KVK Perspective below.

FULL ARTICLE HERE

ARTICLE TAKEAWAYS

  • The effects of this order (Stay At Home) cannot be understated. Residents are forced to take on new financial burdens without a steady income as well as attempt to balance the effects of the negative news and lack of freedom on their mental health. There have been numerous impacts on the personal injury field as attorneys and clients alike have been uniquely affected while attempting to navigate their cases during this pandemic.
  • California insurance companies are still paying liability and health insurance claims during this crisis. Under California Insurance Code §790.03, insurance agencies must still investigate, process, and pay insurance claims. The state government has informed insurance companies that this statute still applies during the ongoing pandemic in a notice issued on March 18, 2020. Clients should not fear that their health insurance might not be processing their claims.
  • Though there has been an update on allowing video conferencing to conduct court proceedings for some civil cases, these proceedings generally do not involve civil personal injury cases. Courthouses have allowed online filing of cases. This is especially important to note for personal injury attorneys as they are often fighting short statute of limitations for their cases. Attorneys should advise potential clients that their case can still be filed in time and that they should not hesitate to act, even if there will be no proceedings or action on their case for several months.

THE KVK PERSPECTIVE

On March 19, 2020 when Governor Gavin Newson issued the Stay at Home Order that brought many California lives and businesses to a screeching halt, the procedures for many legal fields of practice seemed to have transformed into an obstacle course of sorts overnight, with personal injury being no exception.

Courthouses refrained from filing new complaints altogether and are only beginning to open for some non-emergency proceedings, causing concern with regards to statutes of limitation for many personal injury clients.  While health insurance agencies are still required to investigate, process, and pay insurance claims, pursuant to California Insurance Code §790.03, some of the more humdrum aspects of personal injury cases are proving to be onerous such as routine requests for police reports or other records. 

With good reason, there are many that fear contamination from leaving one’s home, let alone walking directly into a medical facility, but Clients must continue seeking prescribed medical treatment anyway. Many treatment providers have completely shut down certain departments for weeks at a time, making obtaining medical and billing records in a timely fashion or even reaching a live person burdensome. This hits the core of personal injury practice since medical records are the lynchpin of any case. 

Facing clients with practical needs and anxieties, such as being out of work or fearful of leaving their homes, attorneys and clients alike must keep in mind that opposing auto insurance companies are seeking to exploit these vulnerabilities.

By Katya Zavala, June 11, 2020


If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the neglect of another, the attorneys at Katchko, Vitiello & Karikomi, PC can help ensure that you are not left paying the costs for that person’s mistake, call us today.