COVID and how it affects your case?
What generally happens in a personal injury claim
Once our client recovers from their injuries, we normaly negotiate with the insurance company to determine how much the insurance company is willing to pay.
At that time, we decide whether to resolve the claim, or, if the amount offered is insufficient, we have the alternative of filing a lawsuit.
That determination is of course made by our client, but we provide our experienced input and recommendation.
Delay in cases
One of the considerations is how long it will take after the lawsuit is filed for the case to actually go to trial. Prior to Covid, in a case involving a claim for less than $30,000 (District Court), the process would take approximately six months, depending on the County. In more serious cases in which a jury trial is required, the process would take approximately one year, again depending on the County. This timeline has been put asunder by Covid. Although there are some statewide guidelines, the availability of the courts is determined by each County.
In Montgomery County, only a handful of auto tort cases which were filed pre-Covid have been assigned a trial date
In Prince George’s County, no new summonses have been issued for auto tort cases since March 2020 and earlier cases are being set in sporadically
In Howard County, all auto tort cases are being generally postponed, with no indication of when they will be set in
It is, of course, speculative to determine when the courts will open and when the flow of cases will begin to operate in a normal fashion. This is particularly true in cases involving jury trials.
Insurance companies are well aware
Unfortunately, insurance companies are well aware of the delay in cases moving forward. We have found that some insurance companies attempt to use this to their advantage by making offers significantly lower than prior to Covid. Each of our cases is of course different, but based upon our experience we try to make certain that an insurance company does not take advantage of Covid to force a premature and insufficient settlement.