May 22nd, 2020

Impact on Personal Injury Settlements During COVID-19

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Author: Crystallis B. Chang, Jamie Alvarado-Taylor

During this time of COVID-19 many things are on hold, but your right to get fair compensation for your injuries should not be one of them. You may have heard the courts in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. have postponed many civil trials due to COVID-19, but this does not mean you should take less for your claim or feel forced to settle for less than you deserve.

If someone else caused or is responsible for your injuries, in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the laws allow for reimbursement of expenses you have  incurred, such as medical expenses and lost wages related to your injuries caused by the accident, as well as compensation for your pain, suffering, and inconvenience. In order to have any of these expenses considered for reimbursement, you need to provide adequate documentation and records to determine whether you are entitled to compensation, and, if so, how much is appropriate for your situation.

If you are injured or have a pending claim with an insurance company during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to discuss your rights with an attorney as soon as possible before you discuss the claim, or accept a settlement offer, from an insurance adjuster. In most situations, accepting an insurance company’s offer will end your right to pursue any future damages. Insurance companies operate from a business model to make money, which, unfortunately, does not always include paying people fair reimbursement or compensation. Some insurance companies may try to take advantage of the court delays and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by extending low offers to settle claims.

Insurance adjusters are trained to resolve cases for the lowest amount of money possible and as quickly as they can. That is because once you accept an offer and settle a claim, you end your right to seek any additional compensation if any other issues come up in the future. That means that if you resolve your claim before you are healed, or before you are fully reimbursed for all of your expenses, such as property damage or time off from work related to your injury, you will likely be barred from collecting any additional money in the future.

Do not believe that the courts are fully closed, and, therefore, your only option is to settle your case for the insurance company’s offer without first speaking with an attorney. There are many ways to resolve a case without going to court. In fact, most cases do still resolve this way. However, if your case does require litigation, Stein Sperling attorneys will help guide you through the process and do what we can do now to prepare to fight when we are able to go back into court.

Contact an attorney help you understand your options.

You can find more on issues affecting businesses and individuals in our COVID-19 Resource Center.