Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Coronavirus, Personal Injury, and Insurance Claims in Long Island During the COVID-19 Crisis
At TonaLaw, we are managing the current ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis just like you are. In order to comply with local, state, and federal guidelines, we have full remote operations with multiple channels of communications.
We are still working on your case, and we are still taking new clients.
There may be some delays in your ongoing case given: public facility closures, business adjustments, and a high volume of inquiries. But at the same time, many case activities can be conducted online, and we hope to seek resolution even with the current unavailability of jury trials and some court services.
If you have recently been injured or have an ongoing injury case for which you have questions, our Long Island personal injury lawyers are available to take your questions. Call us today at 1-833-TONALAW or contact us online, and we can provide you with a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
We know you have questions about your personal injury case or a potential case and how it might play out during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. To help you adjust your expectations and know what path lies ahead, you can look through the following COVID-19 personal injury FAQs.
What Effect Will the Virus Have on Personal Injury & Auto Accident Cases in New York?
Currently, all major insurance companies remain open for business and continue to conduct activities while engaging in social distancing-compliant operations. Because so few people are driving right now, the volume of car accident bodily injury liability (BIL) claims is down. At the same time, insurers are having to redirect their personnel resources to other departments, especially coverage for business losses.
If you are filing a personal injury and/or auto accident claim in New York right now, you can expect minimal delays, but prepare to be flexible. Your claim may be handled between several adjusters, and you may see a delayed response during key moments in the timeline.
You can work with a personal injury lawyer in Long Island to expedite your claim, track its progress closely, and seek the maximum amount of compensation available for all of your injury losses.
I Got Hurt in a Car Accident and Don’t Want to Go to the Hospital, What Should I Do?
The answer to this question is quite tricky. Given the sensitivity of each individual case, we can only provide generalized information. The following information should not be interpreted as health advice, nor legal advice for your specific case.
That said, the response we heard from one care provider was to “seek the minimal level of care possible for the nature of your injuries.”
You should always seek medical attention within 48 hours of your car accident injury. Without a comprehensive examination and diagnosis, no insurance company will honor your claim for damages.
Normally, typical advice would be to visit the ER any time you think you have been injured in a car accident. But, as you may know, ERs in New York are currently flooded with COVID-19 cases. Going to the ER without major trauma or a known serious injury means risking exposure to COVID-19, on top of the stresses it will place on an already overburdened healthcare system.
DO seek emergency medical attention if you have sustained any trauma, have an obvious bone fracture, have sustained a head injury, or otherwise think you have an injury that absolutely requires emergency treatment. If EMS personnel has been dispatched, consent to an exam, and let them transport you if they recommend it.
If you want to “play it safe” and avoid the ER, still seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can visit an urgent care clinic, your primary care physician, or another provider in your area. Call ahead to tell them about the purpose of your visit. Notify them if you have possible COVID-19 symptoms.
Urgent care clinics can perform x-rays and other services, shortening your wait time and reducing your risk of COVID-19 exposure (although the risk is never zero).
If possible, and your injuries may not require a physical exam, you can at the very least arrange a telemedicine appointment with a local care provider.
In sum: err on the side of caution if you think you are even potentially seriously hurt, but rely on alternative forms of health care provisions if you need a diagnosis and wish to avoid the ER.
Do I Need to Receive Medical Treatment to File an Injury Claim?
YES. Recovery for damages is supposed to pay for the costs of all “reasonable and necessary” medical treatment. You should not only seek out a comprehensive diagnosis, but you should also receive all treatments recommended by the care provider during your initial appointment.
Take all prescribed medications, sign up for necessary therapy appointments, and follow up with your care provider on a regular basis.
See the answer above for more advice on seeking care while avoiding the congested hospital system. You can likely attend follow-up appointments online through provided telemedicine portals or available online conferencing systems.
DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR OWN CARE as you recover, otherwise, this may jeopardize your recovery and your ability to recover 100% of your injury-related losses.
Will My Premiums Go Up As a Result of COVID-19 And/Or Filing an Injury Claim?
Any time you file an insurance claim with your own insurance provider, your premiums could go up. This includes claims filed through your personal injury protection (PIP) provider as well as your health insurance provider.
Filing a claim with a third-party bodily liability injury (BIL) insurance provider, such as against an at-fault driver after they cause an accident, should not affect your own rates, under normal circumstances.
The above statements apply during normal circumstances, but with the ongoing epidemic, things are anything but normal.
Healthcare providers and others closely watching the insurance industry are anticipating premium increases in the next year because of the extreme burden of costs placed upon the system at large.
Furthermore, many individuals facing financial hardship may be unable to pay their premiums, and when that happens, the cost of providing insurance rises for everyone.
Overall, there is no way to anticipate the exact effect ongoing current events will have on insurance costs, but the safe bet is that they will rise.
What Do I Do If I Had a Court Appointment Scheduled?
If you have any obligation to visit a courthouse or file the necessary paperwork with a public administration office of any sort, assume you cannot visit in person.
The vast majority of services have moved online for the time being. This may include the prospect of conducting hearings via online conferencing software, but never assume this is the case.
Some courthouses remain partially open to the public for very specific essential services. If at all possible, do not visit in-person. Contact the clerk of the courts or an administrator in the department that concerns you for instructions on what to do next.
Alternatively, contact a Long Island personal injury lawyer to handle your case for you. Your attorney can keep in contact with all the needed local authorities to help you resolve your case, ensure necessary deadlines are met, and otherwise expedite your claim.
For more information on your specific court system, visit one of the following:
- Nassau County District Court COVID-19 Information
- Suffolk County District Court COVID-19 Information
- New York State Court System COVID-19 Information
What Happens If I Had a Jury Trial Scheduled or I Was Supposed to Be a Juror?
All new jury trials in New York have been suspended until further notice.
If you are currently a juror involved in an ongoing municipal or state trial or grand jury panel, you may likely to still be required to attend. You can contact your local Commissioner of Jurors Office for more information.
If you are a personal injury claimant whose case was supposed to go to trial, your trial date will be moved back by several months, at least. There is still the possibility that your case can be resolved outside of court through a settlement agreement or mediation. Contact your personal injury attorney for more details on your specific case’s revised timeline.
Will the High Volume of COVID-19-Related Claims Affect My Ability to Receive Compensation?
Insurers are spending large amounts of money right now covering ongoing losses and COVID-19 related claims. As such, their bodily injury liability departments may have a strong incentive to fight harder against claims, deny coverage for certain losses, or fight allegations of liability.
If you are filing a personal injury claim in the next year or so, be prepared to fight harder than ever to recover as close to 100% of your claimed damages as possible. You may benefit from the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Long Island, who can help you push back against common claim denial strategies to the fullest extent of the law.
What Do I Do If I’ve Been Recently Injured or Have Recently Filed a Claim?
Although many public services have been temporarily shut down or indefinitely postponed, other businesses are still humming along, primarily through remote means.
TonaLaw is available to take your case, and we can provide all of our normal services through remote means. If you have questions or are interested in hiring an experienced Long Island personal injury lawyer, contact us today and let us know the best way to accommodate you.
We can handle your case 100% remotely, minimizing your risk of exposure to COVID-19 while still helping you fight for the maximum amount of compensation available.
Can I File for Workers’ Compensation If I Got Injured Working From Home Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis?
Unfortunately, answering this question without knowing the specific details of your policy is impossible.
Generally speaking, here are a few factors that can help you understand what to expect.
Firstly, workers’ compensation policies are supposed to cover the costs of any injury arising during “the scope of employment.” If you are working from home, you are, in many senses, technically within the “scope of employment” during the time of your injury.
But, as with any policy, there are potential exclusions and exceptions.
If, for instance, you were not ordered to work from home and are doing so voluntarily, it’s possible workers’ comp may not want to pay for your injury costs. Some policies may attempt to deny coverage for work-from-home situations, period.
There is also the possibility that the nature of your injury will be scrutinized, considering you (in theory) have control over your work environment at your home. If, for example, your injury occurred because you tripped over an errant dog barreling through the house, the insurance company might deny or defend the claim and seek to avoid covering the situation.
TonaLaw can help you read the language of your policy closely and apply relevant state laws, federal regulations, and past case outcomes to give your case the best possible chance of successful recovery. We fight against insurers who want to deny your claim for whatever reason.
In the event that your workers’ compensation is extremely unlikely to cover your particular injury, we can examine whether other liable parties may be involved. Possible avenues include third-party car insurance, coverage for product liability, and insurance from other potentially at-fault parties.
What Happens If I Get Sick With COVID-19 (Or Other Illnesses) While Recovering from a Prior Injury?
There is every chance in the world that any liability insurer will treat the development of COVID-19 as not related to your initial injury. They will argue that, given the outbreak, the sickness did not occur in relation to the negligence that initially caused it. Therefore, the insurer will attempt to avoid paying for treatment costs specifically related to COVID-19 or other illnesses.
This risk means that you must track every penny of healthcare spending closely. You may need to audit costs to separate injury treatment from the costs of treating your separate, allegedly unrelated illness. You must also continue to seek follow-up treatment for your injury to avoid the possibility that insurers will reduce or deny coverage because you allegedly worsened your own outcome.
Insurance claims are going to be complex, to put things mildly, so the services of an experienced Long Island personal injury attorney may be needed. Hiring a lawyer means you have someone who can review the language of your policy, fight for the full amount of coverage possible, and help you separate covered and uncovered costs in the event that the insurer refuses to provide reasonable coverage for COVID-related treatment expenses.
Let TonaLaw Answer Your Other Pressing Questions
The questions listed above are, likely, the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dealing with the current uncertainty. We know that you may be scared, confused, or frustrated by the lack of obvious resources available to help you cover the costs of your injury or illness.
TonaLaw can provide you with an experienced, highly knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Long Island to answer your questions and help you discover the path to move forward with your claim.
Call 1-833-TONALAW or contact us online, and we will schedule you for a 100% free, no-obligation case review to answer your questions, discuss your legal options, and hopefully clear up some of the uncertainty that currently weighs heavily on your head.
If we take your injury case, we provide services on a contingency basis — meaning we don’t get paid unless you do, so there’s no risk to getting answers to your questions, seeking assistance, or benefitting from our resources to fight back against insurers. Don’t let your questions linger, call today!