As South Carolina begins to re-open from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, clients of Joye Law Firm and others who have suffered injuries in accidents may wonder how the coronavirus has affected their personal injury claims.
Our law firm continues to move forward with existing clients’ cases and with evaluating the legal options of all South Carolina residents who contact us about personal injuries caused by others’ negligence.
However, this is not to say COVID-19 has had no impact on personal injury cases. We are adjusting, just as we know you are. Our objective remains to seek justice and the most compensation available to you based on specific facts of your accident.
Compensation for You Through Settling a Personal Injury Case
If you have a case pending with Joye Law, you should have heard from us since we temporarily closed our offices to most visits at the end of March. If you have questions about the status of your case, do not hesitate to contact us.
Our electronic case management system allows our staff and attorneys to work remotely to monitor claim deadlines and, when necessary, file lawsuits. Our goal is to try to obtain a fair settlement for you without the necessity of filing a lawsuit. This is done through negotiations with the insurer once we have investigated the accident and present a demand packet to the insurance company.
Most insurance company claim adjusters continue to work, although many are working from home. We are able to contact them by phone and/or online platforms to review evidence and press for a resolution to your claim. If we receive a settlement offer on your case, your attorney will promptly contact you to discuss it.
Getting Medical Treatment for Your Injuries During Coronavirus
Before presenting a demand to an insurance company for compensation, it is important that you have completed your accident-related medical care and reached maximum medical improvement. The majority of your claim typically involves recovery of your medical expenses. You also need to complete medical care as directed by your doctors. If you fail to keep follow-up appointments or follow the doctor’s orders, the insurance company may make an argument that you are not as severely injured as you claim to be.
We understand a reluctance to visit a hospital or other medical centers during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to exposure to illness, you may be wary of overburdening medical workers. As of mid-May, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control had reported 8,189 coronavirus cases identified across the state’s 46 counties, according to the SCETV COVID-19 tracker. South Carolinians are still encouraged to stay home and minimize contact with people outside their households to prevent the spread of the disease.
Most medical practices in South Carolina have adapted to the situation at hand. Many are using video-conferencing technology, particularly for evaluation appointments. Some medical practices continue to have patients come to their offices for hands-on examinations and treatment.
If you are scheduled to receive care or ongoing treatment, please contact your doctor’s office for instructions. Contact your pharmacy or doctor’s office about filling or refilling prescriptions, as well. They will be able to advise you of safety precautions in place for patients. Your doctor may have you check in from their parking lot via phone and wait to be asked to enter the building. Your pharmacy may have a drive-thru window or curbside delivery.
Meanwhile, our injury attorneys are continuing to gather medical records and bills related to our clients’ cases electronically or via the mail. We are continuing to prepare settlement demand packets and submitting them to insurance companies.
Moving Lawsuits Forward While Staying at ‘Home’
If you haven’t participated in a remote video conference, you’ve likely seen them on TV or online. Remote communication software has become a standard tool for many of us and allows legal work to continue, even when many offices are closed to the public.
If Joye Law has filed a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf, you can be assured we are continuing to work toward its resolution. As we have discussed with you previously, this includes continued negotiations toward a settlement, which is the most likely outcome of your case, even if a lawsuit is pending.
South Carolina Courts have ordered all status conferences, pre-trial hearings and pre-trial motions to be conducted using remote communication technology. We are also using remote technology to take depositions for lawsuits in the discovery phase. Defense lawyers must consent to using video-conferencing or telephone conferences for depositions, but consent is easier to obtain as this becomes more commonplace.
If we cannot reach a settlement agreement and have completed work toward filing a lawsuit on your behalf, we will file it promptly. While we can typically file lawsuits well within the statute of limitations, it is worth noting that the S.C. Courts have so far declined to suspend the count of time toward the statute of limitations during the coronavirus emergency (see Article 12 of the Court’s April 22 order).
The Court’s April 22 order delays all civil and criminal trials until further notice. This order may be withdrawn any day as the state of South Carolina starts to re-open, but no such order had been issued as of this writing.
Contact Our S.C. Personal Injury Lawyers
The COVID-19 coronavirus and its associated safety precautions affect all aspects of life, but do not necessarily stop daily activities that can lead to personal injury accidents. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, a slip and fall accident or any accident that was not our fault, you should speak to an attorney right away about compensation you may be due.
The experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys of Joye Law Firm are available to respond to your call, just as we remain on duty for existing clients. From anywhere in South Carolina, we urge you to call Joye Law Firm now at 877-941-2615 or fill out this online contact form to set up a no-cost claim evaluation.