How the Coronavirus Pandemic Might Affect Your Personal Injury Case in Florida
The world’s attention seems to be focused on nothing but the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 32,000 people and infected more than 680,000 globally. However, no one canceled auto accidents and other traumatic events that may give rise to a personal injury case.
However, the pandemic itself – as well as the resulting quarantine and stay-at-home orders in Florida – might affect your personal injury case. In some cases, the pandemic may even prevent you from recovering damages or may make it difficult to obtain maximum compensation.
The Coronavirus Pandemic in Hillsborough and Orange County, FL
At 10 p.m. on March 27, a safer-at-home executive order went into effect in Hillsborough County, restricting groups and travel except for the performance of necessary activities or essential services. According to WFLA, Hillsborough County residents are still allowed to leave their homes for groceries and go to the hospital, among other things.
The preceding day, a stay-at-home order went into effect for residents of Orange County. According to FOX 35 Orlando, the order permits essential activities, such as going for groceries, visiting a health or veterinary care professional, buying medication, and others.
As of March 30, at least 60 people died from the coronavirus disease in Florida. There have been nearly 5,000 cases of COVID-19 across the Sunshine State. Of these, Orange County has recorded 198 cases, while Polk County has had 37 cases, according to WESH.
How the Pandemic Might Affect Your Personal Injury Case
Although residents of Hillsborough County and Orange County are permitted to go to hospitals, they may not receive all of the doctor-recommended medical treatment. For example, if someone has been in a vehicle crash and needs to receive extensive treatment, they may not be able to do so due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Often, those who file a personal injury claim must go to multiple doctor’s appointments over an extended period. In fact, they must follow their doctor’s orders to the letter to maximize their compensation. Unfortunately, doing so may not be possible when a stay-at-home order is in effect.
Unfortunately, it does not change the fact that you must receive all of the necessary treatment and follow all orders to obtain maximum compensation. But what if it becomes impossible to complete your treatment or even get a doctor’s appointment (e.g., all hospitals only handle coronavirus cases due to an overflow of patients)?
If there is a justifiable reason for delaying treatment, it is unlikely to lead to a reduction in case value, though it will most likely result in delays in resolving your case. Keep in mind that you cannot settle a case for a reasonable amount – or file a lawsuit, for that matter – until your treatment has concluded, especially if you suffered a catastrophic injury.
Without treatment, you are unable to prove the extent of your injury. In order to get the maximum compensation, you need to demonstrate medical records with treatment. Thus, the only way to avoid hurting your personal injury case is to go to the doctor and complete the medical treatment while taking precautions when visiting (e.g., wearing a protective mask and gloves, keeping at least a 6-foot distance from others, washing your hands, not touching your face, and following other hygiene recommendations).