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How Is COVID-19 Affecting Personal Injury Cases?

How is COVID-19 affecting personal injury cases? Hi, everyone as you know, I’m Sean McQuaid and it has been some time since I’ve done a video. One reason was I was uncertain as to how appropriate it was during the lockdown and secondly, like probably many other people, I just didn’t have all that much motivation to film the video. So in any event, we are now back, it is the week of May 4th, 2020 and governor DeSantis has partially lifted the stay at home orders. And so now we’re seeing gradual reopening. Uh, and so I felt it was appropriate to give a status on what we’re seeing on the front lines here of personal injury law. Uh, obviously it’s not quite as uh, as severe or significant as the front lines of the covert 19 crisis. But still, uh, throughout the past almost two months, we’ve seen a lot of changes in how, personal injury cases are being handled.

And so hopefully this video provide some insight as to what we’re dealing with and what you might be dealing with. Uh, if you have a pending case or if you get into some type of accident and you’re wondering what’s going on. So, uh, first, uh, we saw toward the end of March, so right when the pandemic was starting, uh, right around the time that the shutdown was, was first occurring, we saw really a, um, a boom of settlement of personal injury cases. People were motivated, meaning clients were motivated to get the cases done, insurance adjusters were also motivated, uh, and the offers were still good. And so I’d say for the last two, two and a half, three weeks, end of March, uh, very beginning of April, boom of cases resolved. And that was really as a reason. Uh, part of the reason was there were no new client calls, no new, uh, client intakes.

We were just solely working on settlements. And we’ve got a lot done now that changed in April and it’s changed all the way up to today’s date. And what we’ve noticed is a tightening of the insurance, uh, of the insurance companies. And this happened. We noticed it, like I said, maybe the first week of April where offers were coming in that were bizarre to us. Um, and so there had to have been some type of pullback by the insurance companies. So what we’ve seen over the past say five, five and a half weeks is if a case is clearly an excess of the insurance policy, they’re still tendering those policies. There’s no issue there. But on every other case where the claim is questionable as to whether it meets or exceeds the policy limits, we are getting ridiculous low ball offers. I mean inexcusable offers, uh, and virtually it’s across the board.

Doesn’t matter. The insurance company, uh, I’m not quite sure exactly why. I think I’ve got some suspicions. I think it’s because they believe that people are desperate for money and they’re uncertain about what their income is going to be in terms of whether people continue to pay their insurance premiums. But it’s been low ball after low ball and it’s really been disturbing. As far as the, uh, the claim processing, the insurance companies were well-suited due to the, um, to deal with the shutdown. A lot of the insurance adjusters are working from home, so we really didn’t see much of a slow down or a delay. Uh, we are told that new claims coming in are, are, are off dramatically. We’ve seen that here at the office. We’ve only had a few cases trickle in here and there. And so I know the insurance adjusters are not being overworked, they’re just tight.

That is a function of the court system. Now, jury trials have been suspended both criminal and civil jury trials, which of course includes personal injury law all the way through after 4th of July. So I think it’s maybe like July 6th, whatever the Monday is after the 4th of July would be the first day that the courts would be reopened. And so what that’s done is for all these months that jury trials have been suspended, there’s just no pressure on the insurance company that they’re going to get whacked by a jury trial. Um, the insurance defense attorneys are still working. We’re still taking depositions via zoom and via other, uh, video conferencing and it’s actually worked out quite well. And I think that’s going to be a real change moving forward is that a lot of these videos are going to be done via, uh, or just over your laptop.

It’s actually really convenient. So the depots are still moving, but they’ve only started to move back in the end of March and ending, uh, beginning of April. It was just total shutdown. So discovery’s moving. Uh, but again, without any jury trials, there’s really no pressure on the insurance companies to get the cases moving. So if you’re set for a mediation, okay, great. But the insurance company does not have, there’s nothing hanging over the insurance company’s head to say, Hey, the claim now versus pay the claim in however many months it’s going to be before jury trials started back up. So we’ve seen a real slow down on just about every aspect of the personal injury practice other than claims that are clearly worth more than the insurance policy. So it’s a whole new world out there. Uh, things are changing really by the week. We have our, on the pulse of the industry.

Uh, we are taking new clients in, we’re having zoom chats on new appointments, telephone appointments. We send the contracts out via email. So we’ve really adapted, uh, to the, uh, to the shutdown in the pandemic. So we’re still up and operating. But, uh, the after effects, not only from a health standpoint, obviously, but the after effects on the personal injury, uh, industry are going to be long term because this is going to slow things down. It’s going to affect everything for many months to come. So any event that is your update on personal injury cases for the week of May 4th, 2020, I hope all of you are well and being safe.

*The above has been transcribed by a third party service and has not been checked for accuracy

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, then you should take the proper measures to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas today and speak with an attorney. For over 60 years our firm has been successfully helping people who have been injured due to someone else’s carelessness. We have been nationally ranked for decades by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 law firm, which is the highest ranking that can be received. Sean McQuaid and Jonathon Douglas have dedicated their careers to continuing the firms legacy of superior legal representation.

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St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas
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Sean McQuaid and Jonathon Douglas were voted best personal injury attorneys in Saint Petersburg, Florida for 2019.

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