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Will the COVID-19 Emergency Affect My Car Accident Case?


While there may be fewer cars on the road than usual in Pennsylvania, many of us are still required to drive, whether to the grocery store, to an essential job, or for emergencies. This means that although car accident rates may be lower, getting into a car accident is still possible. The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have more than just an effect on traffic congestion and the rate of collisions occurring across the state, but could also make it more difficult to obtain monetary compensation from negligent drivers who cause serious collisions. In fact, car accident claimants can generally expect the litigation and negotiation process to slow down over the coming months, making it especially important for those who were recently injured in collisions, to speak with an experienced Wilkes Barre auto accident lawyer who can ensure that their case goes as smoothly as possible.

Courthouse Closures

On March 16th, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court declared a statewide judicial emergency due to the spread of COVID-19. As a part of this shutdown, many of the state’s courthouses were closed completely and all pending matters that didn’t qualify as emergencies were tabled. While the Supreme Court recently extended the statewide judicial emergency through June 1st, courts are now being directed to remain open, although in a limited capacity. In-person access and proceedings, for example, will still be strictly limited. Civil trials will also remain suspended, while court payments and filings must be conducted over the phone, through the mail, or online.

These statewide closures will most likely result in delays across the board, in both civil and criminal cases. This does not mean, however, that a person’s case must come to an absolute standstill until the state emergency is over. Instead, those who have retained experienced auto accident lawyers can entrust those individuals with furthering their case by conducting research, initiating investigations, compiling evidence, submitting motions, and negotiating with insurers.

Insurance Coverage

Under Pennsylvania law, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. Unfortunately, as we continue to feel the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many motorists may soon be unable to pay their monthly premiums. This in turn, could mean that there are fewer insured drivers on the road, making it more difficult for injured parties to recover compensation after an accident. While drivers will still have the option of going through the courts to obtain compensation from a negligent driver, courtroom shutdowns across the state will undoubtedly result in delays.

Denying Policyholder Claims

Many businesses, including auto insurers, may find it difficult to stay on top of bills and necessary expenses in the coming months, especially if drivers start missing premium payments. Some insurers may respond to these cutbacks by fighting harder before agreeing to settle a claim, or even denying a legitimate claim outright. When this type of conduct crosses over into bad faith practices, the at-fault parties can be held liable, so if you believe that your own insurer unfairly denied your claim, please contact our legal team today to learn more about how to protect your legal interests.

An Experienced Wilkes Barre Auto Accident Lawyer

To speak with a dedicated car accident attorney about the challenges you may face with your own accident claim, please call the Wilkes Barre auto accident lawyers at the Figured Law Firm at 570-954-9299 today.


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