HOW THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC MIGHT IMPACT YOUR POTENTIAL PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM by Attorney Joe Volta
As a North Carolina personal injury attorney, I’ve seen first hand how the deck is already stacked against victims who were injured as a result of another’s negligence. Take for instance North Carolina Rule 414. However, the effects of that rule are for another post. The rise of the coronavirus will undoubtably have lasting effects on your personal injury case and we here at Hull and Chandler went to be sure our current and future clients are informed of this ever changing landscape. The topics below are a few areas that may be helpful when navigating the unchartered waters surrounding the coronavirus.
IF YOU ARE INJURED IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT
When first assessing your personal injury claim, the insurance companies use countless tactics to drive down the value of your case. The insurance companies use specifically designed software to evaluate and set case “ranges.” Moreover, the claim adjusters and defense attorney’s first look to your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries. Without medical records the defendants often make the argument that you are “faking” your injuries because there is a lack of supporting medical documentation to back up your claims.
While we here at Hull and Chandler understand that hospitals and other like medical facilities are the last place individuals may want to be given the coronavirus’ contagiousness, it is imperative if you are injured by the negligence of another that you seek medical attention and treat your injuries immediately. Without this treatment it will be extremely difficult to achieve maximum value for your case.
In the coming weeks it is entirely possible the health care system may become overburdened with coronavirus patients. If this happens, the critically injured may be the only patients seen by medical professionals, however upon reaching some form of normalcy you must seek treatment. A delay in treatment, while not ideal is still preferable to no treatment.
Here are a list of things you can do to keep yourself safe from contracting the coronavirus when attending a medical facility. Also, for those of you in the Charlotte Metro region, Atrium Health and Novant Health are providing virtual medical visits. These tools can be useful in documenting your injuries and ultimately will help when trying to achieve maximum value for your case.
HOW THE CORONAVIRUS MAY AFFECT INSURANCE COVERAGE
Currently, our country is heading towards a recession as the world economy has taken a substantial hit from the spread of the Coronavirus. During a recession people will undoubtably have less cash flow which, in turn, means they may not be able to afford their insurance premiums. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners approximately 13% of motorist are uninsured. Among those uninsured motorists, a study done by the Financial Responsibility Insurance Committee found that 82% of people indicated the reason for their lack of auto insurance was because they could not afford insurance.
Given these statistics, it is entirely possible that if you are in an auto collision the at fault driver may not have auto insurance. Upon hiring our firm, we perform an exhaustive background check of all insurance coverages and locate any policies that may apply to your claim.
One form of insurance coverage that we are often able to obtain for our clients is through their own policy. This coverage is called uninsured motorist insurance. In North Carolina the minimum coverage that a driver must carry is $30,000.00. I always recommend my clients carry more insurance than is required for two reasons:
1) If you are grievously injured by an uninsured motorist, often times your minimum limits coverage will not even cover your medical bills; and
2) The difference in cost between $30,000.00 and $100,000.00 in coverage is often only a few dollars more a month, however you are substantially more protected with $100,000.00 of uninsured motorist coverage.
Given the current economic climate resulting from the spread of the coronavirus, it is possible there may be more uninsured drivers on the roads. Keeping this in mind I recommend that everyone review their own policies to be sure you and your loved ones are adequately covered if you are injured by an uninsured motorist.
WILL THE INSURANCE COMPANIES PAY MY CLAIM?
As we move toward a worldwide recession as a result of the Coronavirus, insurance companies will surely tighten their pocketbooks. While these companies will most likely remain in business, they will fight now more than ever on your case in order to push down claim values to grow their bottom line. This means that you need to hire an attorney that is willing to not only fight the insurance companies out of court to ensure they pay maximum value, but if necessary the attorney is willing to file a lawsuit and take your case to court. (Most personal injury attorneys do not want to take your case to court and the insurance companies know this, thereby driving down the value of your claim). We here a Hull and Chandler are not afraid to file a lawsuit and see it through to a verdict, we will put pressure on the insurance companies from start to finish to ensure maximum value for your case.
WILL ACCESS TO COURTS BE RESTRICTED?
As of now access to the North Carolina courts have been largly restricted though at least April 13, 2020 due to the Coronavirus. More information on the North Carolina court system and the coronavirus can be found here. We here at Hull and Chandler are keeping abreast of the ever-changing directives from the Court and are well equipped to handle your case moving forward.
WE CAN HANDLE YOUR CASE REMOTELY!
We at Hull and Chandler have the ability to handle your personal injury jury case remotely. Please do no hesitate to contact us as a result of conditions surrounding the coronavirus, as discussed it is imperative we begin working on your claim immediately. We can meet with you via telephone and email to complete the intake process. During the initial stages of your personal injury case most of our work is done by compiling your records and gathering the facts of your case. Our work coincides with your medical treatment. for your injuries. The advancement in technology allow us to provide our clients the full resources of the firm without having to you to risk potential exposure to the Coronavirus. In general, a personal injury case has a life cycle of roughly 8 months to year. Hopefully by the time you have recovered from your injuries, the social distancing and court restrictions will have passed and business will be back to some form of normalcy.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________A. Joe Volta
Hull & Chandler, P.A.
1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 450
Charlotte, NC 28203