COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on many areas of life, including the judicial court systems across the U.S. Since March 30, 2020, the state of Connecticut has stopped all in-person proceedings and has been using alternative remote, virtual means to conduct business. As of now, no in-house trials are happening. Since this update, all matters, with the exception of jury trials, are being heard in Connecticut state courts. There are a limited number of courthouses that are open to the public.
Continue reading to discover the common answers to your questions regarding how COVID-19 has impacted the state of Connecticut’s court system and personal injury claims.
Can I still file a personal injury claim during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, you can still file a new personal injury claim; the pandemic will not jeopardize your personal injury claim. Personal injuries due to negligence, such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall and pedestrian accidents do not stop during COVID-19 and neither should your personal injury case.
How will COVID-19 affect my personal injury case in Connecticut?
Fortunately, COVID-19 has not completely halted all legal processes in Connecticut. However, a lot has changed when it comes to handling personal injury cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just like you have adapted your life to the “new normal”, the court, insurance companies and medical providers have done the same. Connecticut courts are offering virtual court-side trials so, for those non-jury cases, trials can proceed in “virtual” court. And, importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed the fact that a majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of court.
It’s important to continue to be diligent when it comes to seeking immediate medical assistance in the unfortunate case that you or a loved one becomes injured. With many hospitals at capacity treating COVID-19 patients, it may seem like a good idea to “wait it out” at home, but this is not advisable. Not seeking medical treatment can negatively impact the outcome of your case and settlement. Your medical records, doctor’s orders and receipts can all provide key evidence for proving the extent of your injuries.
One benefit that has perhaps come out of this situation is that remote court capabilities have created more availability in the schedule of expert witnesses, such as physicians and healthcare providers, to deliver their expertise to the court.
How will COVID-19 impact settlement negotiations?
You can expect that insurance companies will continue to try and undermine your personal injury case, with the goal being for you to settle for less than what your case is worth. Many families are feeling the negative impacts of the pandemic and experiencing financial hardships, which may cause them to be eager to settle their case so they can quickly receive compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. Partnering with a skilled personal injury attorney ensures that you have the best likelihood of receiving what you are rightfully owed and not settle for less.
Do I still need to appear for jury duty?
If you receive notice to appear for jury duty, you may get to skip out on this request for now. In Connecticut, jurors scheduled to appear from now until April 30, 2021, do not have to report for jury duty. However, this may change again, as judicial branch officials are continuing to develop strategies to safely resume trials.
Unfortunately, some people have been trying to take advantage of this situation. Connecticut residents have reported a scam from callers posing as judicial marshals who are demanding payment for a missed jury duty appearance. Since this has been reported, the state’s attorney general and consumer protection officials have alerted the public that this is a scam, and a public official will never call and demand immediate payment over the phone.
As always, the safety of our community is of top concern. We will continue to offer virtual consultations and meetings if you prefer to not conduct business in-person. If you’d rather meet in-person, we ensure that the office is cleaned and sanitized following the CDC’s latest recommendations.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, contact Robert L. Cavanaugh, Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney with more than 25 years of expertise, by clicking below or calling (203) 259-5400.