What Could the Coronavirus Pandemic Mean for Michigan Personal Injury Cases?
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the coronavirus pandemic impact all aspects of society — including ways you might not have expected. But what if you already had a personal injury case that began before mandated shut-downs went into effect? Or what happens if you’ve been injured during the lockdown period? Here are some ways that personal injury cases could potentially be affected.
In the state of Michigan, courts have been operating on a limited basis to limit in-person contact. Hearings for some types of cases, such as criminal cases involving a defendant already in custody and hearings for personal protection orders, may still continue. However, judges have been ordered to put off cases that can be handled at a later date and to use technology to handle things when possible. Because of this, there may be some delays in filing new cases and for cases that previously had scheduled hearing dates.
Insurance Companies May Be Overly Eager to Settle
Very often, personal injury cases are settled without going to court. Going to trial can be very costly and time consuming, so an out-of-court settlement can potentially be seen as an ideal solution. However, with so many people being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, insurance companies might see this as an opportunity to pressure injured parties to settle their cases for less than they deserve if there’s a chance they could need the extra money.
Difficulties Getting Medical Treatment
With hospitals being overwhelmed by coronavirus patients, many other types of patients are being treated with lower priority. Many hospitals around the country have postponed all non-essential, elective treatments so that their resources can be directed toward patients with critical needs. This may mean it could be more difficult for accident victims to get treatment and follow-up care for their injuries. For example, if you need to see a doctor to follow-up after a surgery, you might not have an easy time getting an appointment unless there is serious cause for concern. It also might be difficult to get other types of care, such as physical therapy.
Unfortunately, these types of delays in medical treatment can mean it might take longer for accident victims to reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is a concept in personal injury law in which a plaintiff has reached the point of physically recovering as much as possible. In some situations, MMI could be a full recovery. In others, a person can reach MMI, but be permanently disabled or need ongoing medical treatment. MMI plays a very important role in personal injury cases because it creates a clear picture of the full extent of your injuries. If you were to file a lawsuit or accept a settlement before reaching MMI, there’s a chance that you wouldn’t be getting all of the damages you’re entitled to.
Claims Against Businesses Could be Complicated
If your accident occurred in a place of business, there’s a chance your case may be more complex depending on the type of business involved. For example, if you were injured in a business that is considered essential during the lockdown, like a grocery store or a bank, you might not experience any difficulties in this regard. But with so many other types of businesses being forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a good chance that some of them will be forced to permanently close or enter bankruptcy, which may complicate your case.
Even during these difficult times, The Law Offices of Goodwin & Scieszka is still here to help Michigan accident victims. Contact us online or by phone and we’ll be able to help with your case. As a personal injury law firm with years of experience handling a wide range of cases, we’re prepared to help our clients through any additional difficulties they might encounter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
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