Understanding Legal Challenges

How Changes to Court Case Procedures May Affect Your Claim

For the next few months, at least, if not longer, court procedures are going to be vastly different than they have in the past. If you need to file a personal injury claim, that means you need to be prepared for some definite changes that could impact your financial and health statuses.

Courts don't want to delay cases if they don't have to, but with health issues at the top of most people's minds, those same courts could suddenly slow or halt proceedings for some time. You need to be aware of what changes you can expect over the next several months.

Slower Case Progression

Be prepared for slower case progression overall, even if courts don't close. There may be fewer lawyers and judges available, and jury selection and attendance are still in question. Courts may limit the number of cases they handle each day, creating more of a backlog. This means that it could take longer for you to find out the result of your claim and longer for you to get any award, especially if the other party has been hit financially by the pandemic. You may want to speak to your lawyer about settlement negotiations as a way to speed up resolution, although you are not required to go this route. This is merely an option given current circumstances.

Remote Testimony

If your case does reach a court, you may see a lot of testimony given remotely. In some cases, this can be from a remote office, or you may be separated from other parties in the case in the courthouse itself, giving testimony from another room via videoconferencing. Technical delays and audio issues could make the case go on a bit longer, but these delays shouldn't be too bad as courts should be able to fix problems relatively quickly.

Sudden Changes

You and your lawyer have to be prepared for changes to procedures to occur quickly. Keep an eye on court schedules and announcements, and also be on the lookout for signs from other sectors of society that another shutdown could be imminent. Courts will not close with no notice, but you may suddenly find out that your court date for next week has been postponed.

None of this is meant to discourage you; it's all just a fact of life now. What you need to be aware of is that this can affect how quickly you get a resolution to your case. Speak with a personal injury attorney about timelines, settlements, and other issues that could affect your case.