As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country, many state and local governments issued “stay-at-home” orders and limited court operations. As most courts are only handling emergency matters, your personal injury claim or another civil claim might be impacted.
Altered Court Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Previously, we discussed how the pandemic might affect your personal injury case in Florida. But many people are wondering how court procedures changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Limited court access. Florida’s circuit court judges were ordered to cancel, postpone, or reschedule all court proceedings unless they are deemed “essential” and critical. The measures were adopted to limit the number of people in courtrooms in a bid to minimize COVID-19 exposure.
- Alternative hearing technologies. With Florida’s courts canceling all non-essential hearings, including personal injury cases stemming from auto accidents, some courts are adopting alternative hearing technologies. What is considered “non-essential” is determined on a case-by-case basis, but some courts strive to transition from in-person to remote hearings.
- Trial delays. The Florida Supreme Court’s Chief Justice delayed all jury trials and other court matters through the end of May in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease. The state also suspended the rules granting defendants the right to a speedy trial.
- Relaxed evidentiary requirements. Some courts loosened evidentiary requirements allowing to consider sworn out-of-court statements and remote testimony as admissible evidence.
- Remote depositions. Some courts offer several litigation support services to provide remote or videoconference depositions.
There is an ongoing debate regarding the tolling of the statute of limitations for bringing claims. After all, it cannot be a claimant’s fault if he or she fails to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires as most courts remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic. It is advised to talk to a Lakeland personal injury attorney to examine your case and discuss your legal options during the pandemic.
How the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts Your Personal Injury Claim
While Florida residents are still permitted to go to hospitals despite the stay-at-home order, they may struggle to complete the doctor-recommended medical treatment following a car crash or another accident.
Often, individuals who pursue a personal injury claim must go to multiple doctor’s appointments to document their injury and complete their treatment. Also, it is mandatory to follow all of your doctor’s orders to receive maximum compensation.
However, the coronavirus pandemic, and the statewide measures aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in Florida, may make it challenging to follow your doctor’s orders or complete the necessary medical treatment.
Unless there is a justifiable reason for delaying treatment, you will be required to complete your treatment during the pandemic to avoid hurting your personal injury case. Failure to do so without a justifiable reason may lead to a reduction in case value or might even lead to denial of your claim.
Discuss your particular situation with our Lakeland personal injury attorneys at The Turnbull Firm. Call at 407-612-6464 or 863-324-3500 or visit our “Contact Us” page to schedule a consultation.