1. How does COVID-19 affect my injury case?
Certain economic activities and businesses have been shut down as a result of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. But, enforcing your rights and getting your insurance benefits can never be suspended. Insurance companies are considered ‘essential businesses’ and are still very much in business. In Ohio, courts are still in session and certain processes are being heard. This is according to the directive of the Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, Maureen O’Connor, that courts should remain open during the pandemic. Safety precautions and guidelines must however be adhered to. Importantly, filing your claim, discussing its details, negotiating with insarance companies, and finalizing your insurance claims can all be done via electronic means.
2. Many hospitals have halted elective surgeries to focus on COVID-19 cases. How will this affect my case?
Getting the required medical treatment is essential to your wellbeing. On March 17, the Ohio Department of Health ordered the suspension of all ‘non-essential’ or elective surgeries. This is however no longer the situation. Since the third week of April, hospitals in Ohio have followed a new order that directs healthcare professionals to review any postponed procedures or surgeries with their patients. Several hospitals that have halted ‘non-life-threatening’ surgeries are now beginning to reschedule them. Getting the best of medical treatment is the priority for your health.
3. I heard I should avoid hospitals, emergency rooms, and urgent care facilities for non-emergencies. Should I continue treatment if I have an ongoing case?
Avoiding medical treatment for your injuries is not advisable. Continuing your treatment is beneficial to your health and should not be suspended. It is additionally significant to your injury case that you see out the medical treatment for the injuries you have suffered. Your continuing medical treatment and records will come handy when you want to negotiate for your compensations. It must be noted that hospitals in Ohio are now open for 'non-essential' medical treatment.
4. Many states have declared the State of Emergency. Does this affect my insurance if I get into a car wreck?
No, it does not. Insurance companies are part of the ‘essential businesses’ allowed to be in operation. Delaying or suspending your claim because of coronavirus is not advised. The statute of limitations on when you can file a claim in Ohio is still in effect. This means that you could forfeit your right to file a legal action and recover compensation if you delay getting in touch with your attorney. A lot of the processes involved in claiming your insurance benefits have already been made electronic. Your rights during this pandemic remain guaranteed.
5. What happens if I contract COVID-19 (or any other illnesses) while receiving treatment for my ongoing case?
Hospitals and medical facilities not only have a duty to provide medical treatment with all the knowledge and skill at their disposal, but they are also obligated to abstain from doing anything that harms you in any way as a result of the negligence of their staff. If you contract COVID-19 or any other illness while receiving treatment for your injury, you may be able to file a claim against all the parties responsible. Other than negligence, it also has to be established that the hospital or its staff failed to comply with safety precautions and COVID-19 guidelines.
6. What If I Am An Essential Worker and I Contract COVID-19 While on the Job? Do I Have Any Legal Rights?
The current situation in the country is very frightening for people who are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 as a result of their jobs. Your legal rights as a person that contracted COVID-19 while working are a bit uncertain at the moment. However, the certainty is that you may be able to initiate legal action against an employer that failed to take proper measures to protect workers against infection. Besides, if you were exposed by a co-worker, you may be able to sue if you show that the person knew their COVID-19 status, violated safety precautions, and wilfully exposed you to the virus.
7. Will I be able to meet with my attorney during the coronavirus pandemic?
Yes, you can meet with your attorney. In Ohio, lawyers are considered essential workers who can still go into their offices despite stay-at-home orders aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus. Even more so, the use of electronic means (phone calls/video conferences) are now commonly utilized in meeting with clients. Additionally:
  • Documents can be sent, reviewed, and signed through a secure email service;
  • Depositions can be conducted via video conference;
  • Hearings can be conducted over the phone, and
  • Claims and settlements can be negotiated over the phone.

This means that your lawyer is still very much available to ensure that your rights are protected.

8. Will the courts be open to hear my case?
Yes, courts are still open. According to the briefing by Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Maureen O’Connor, local courts are expected to remain open to address emergency and time-sensitive matters. Courts must also ensure that they do all things necessary to continue their essential court functions. Besides, Courts in Ohio have been enjoined to maximize the use of technology and reduce face-to-face interaction. As such, some of the court hearings may be conducted by video conference.
9. Can I cancel my car insurance to save money?
The lockdown has forced so many people to stay at home and stop the use of their vehicles. Notably, most policies will cover damages, fire, or theft. Cancelling your car insurance may prove to be a dicey situation. If your cars are in a personal garage or on private property, you may be able to suspend your insurance if you so wish. To do this, you first have to mark your vehicle as "off the road". You may also be able to get a “payment holiday” on your repayments. It is best to consult your lawyer on the options available to you.
10. Do I still need to seek medical treatment after an accident during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, the first thing to do after an accident is to seek medical help. Your injuries may not be as minor as you think they are. Importantly too, when you file a personal injury claim, you have to produce medical reports that will prove that you were injured and that you are entitled to be compensated for it. Without treatment and medical records, the other party may claim that you did not suffer any injury or that you exaggerated them. If you get involved in an accident, it is important to get in touch with an attorney immediately. If you also intend to limit your exposure to Coronavirus by skipping or suspending medical treatment, it is advisable to consult your lawyer