It seems that there is very little (and even less each passing day) that the coronavirus outbreak has not affected. Most people are already familiar with guidelines about social distancing, washing hands, and the like. However, this blog post will explore how the outbreak is affecting personal injury cases in Texas and New Mexico. This information is current as of the publishing date, March 30, 2020.
But first, a short PSA: As hospitals transition staff and resources towards preparing to treat and treating coronavirus patients, it’s important that society take extra precaution to avoid risky situations that could end up with them in the emergency room. Ideally, we would be this cautious all the time (who wants to get injured and go to the hospital?), but right now, it’s even more imperative. So, if you are driving, pay attention to the road and only to the road. If you’re cooking at home, use knives safely and avoid cooking fires. If you’re on social media, avoid “challenges.” Save yourself the headache of an unnecessary injury and save the county a much-needed hospital bed.
What if I get injured today?
For anyone seriously injured today, it is important to know that we are still available. While we have transitioned some staff to work from home, technology and the nature of our work mean that there has been little to no interruption in our ability to quickly respond to a new case. We have attorneys in all five of our offices ready to take your call or meet with you in person if you so choose. We also have the ability to send all paperwork electronically so that you can complete it easily on your phone.
The most critical thing a person can do is call our office as soon as practical after an injury so that we can get to work quickly.
The first few things we do, generally speaking, when we get a call right after a major accident is (1) document the scene while the physical evidence (e.g. tire skid marks) are intact and fresh, (2) obtain and surveillance video from nearby business (or even camera doorbells) before they’re automatically overwritten, (3) interview witnesses while the event is fresh on their minds, and (4) put any potential defendants on notice to preserve evidence that they possess. Every hour and every day that goes by after the incident, evidence fades away, witness memories change, and companies hide evidence.
How will my case be affected?
Most personal injury cases are progressing as usual. The only exception has been cases that are scheduled to go to a jury trial in the near future because many courts have postponed civil jury trials by a couple of months. However, if you are injured today, this jury trial delay likely will not affect your case at all. Roughly 98% of civil cases, including personal injury cases, resolve before a trial. We are still able to move your case forward through e-filing court documents, taking depositions by video conference, and requesting medical records and bills electronically.