COVID is Even Affecting Car Accident Claims
By Space Coast Daily // October 8, 2020
Auto Insurance Claims
When someone gets into a car accident they normally make a claim to their insurance company. An auto insurance claim is a request sent to the insurance company asking for compensation.
These claims could cover damages that happened as a result of the accident. Since car repairs can be expensive, it is smart to file an insurance claim when involved in an accident. However, COVID-19 has affected the car accident claims process.
Pre-COVID Claims Process
Filing a car accident claim involved:
• Contacting the Police
• Collecting Information about the Accident
• Calling the Insurance Company
• Talking to a Claims Specialist
After those steps are taken there could then be problems with the claim that would involve speaking with more people from the insurance company. However, with COVID-19 numbers rising, there are new difficulties with filing a claim.
“COVID-19 has challenged just about every industry and system of government with new barriers. Car accident injury claims are no exception. As if survivors of car accidents in Western Pennsylvania weren’t dealing with enough already, COVID-19 is further complicating their claims and making it harder to obtain fair compensation” said Robert Marcus, an attorney at Marcus & Mack.
How is COVID Affecting the Claims Process
While the general process of filing a claim is relatively the same, there are new challenges being presented. It is getting more difficult to settle car accident claims cases in the wake of COVID-19, and there are major factors affecting these car accident claims.
Lapses in Coverage
COVID-19 has been causing financial hardship for many Americans and slowing the economy. This financial stress is causing some people to discontinue paying their insurance premiums which means the insurance company will then discontinue coverage.
People are facing loss of income due to the pandemic, and that means Americans are having to make tough financial decisions. Sometimes that means not being able to pay all bills on time, and when drivers are unable, or do not pay their premium, the insurance company discontinues coverage.
If an accident happens and one of the parties is uninsured, that party might not have enough funds, or assets, to provide compensation. This adds a new complexity to the insurance claim and could make getting proper compensation extremely difficult.
Insurance Company Behavior
COVID-19 is also affecting the attitudes of the different insurance companies, insurance companies are also falling victim to the economic slowdown. Unfortunately, this means that insurance companies might try to pay out less compensation, if they anticipate lessening profit in the upcoming months. If insurance companies do try to minimize their payouts, that could mean lowball settlement offers or drawing out the process. The insurance companies might start using hostile or more aggressive behavior which is going to affect the claims process. This behavior could mean an unfair settlement is reached.
Closing of Doors
A few law firms have shut their doors due to COVID-19 which is another factor that is affecting car accident claims. This pandemic has caused many businesses to shut their doors for the time being, with no indication of when reopening will happen. Law firms are not immune to the economic downfall COVID-19 is causing, which means a few might have to close their doors.
When looking for an attorney during this pandemic it is important to look to see if they are able to deliver quality service during the pandemic. It would be less than ideal to hire an attorney that has to close up shop later down the line. That would hold up the claims process, and could make getting a fair claim more difficult. If a law firm closes before a decision is made, or a settlement is reached, the process of completing the claim gets much more complex.
When COVID-19 hit the United States the court system shut down. A total of 34 states suspended in-person proceedings and 16 states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level. At the federal level the United States Courts stated that federal judges could conduct court operations virtually in response to COVID-19. The courts system switched what they were doing pre-COVID to a new system. This switch to a new system caused the courts to get backlogged with cases and has delayed court dealings.
Medical Attention and Therapy
The final challenge that can affect car accident claims is the challenge of receiving medical attention and therapy. A lot of medical appointments were canceled, and when treatments can add value to a claim, a delay in treatment can delay the claim. If medical attention is not received, then the overall value of the claim can be diminished. While it might be difficult, keeping up with medical appointments could strengthen the value of a claim. Making telemedicine appointments would even work as well, as long as there is a record of the medical appointment.
How an Attorney Could Help
Car accident survivors are already dealing with the stress of the car accident, and COVID-19 is potentially adding more stress. An attorney could help alleviate this stress. Lapses in coverage, as previously mentioned, can create more complex filing situations.
If there is a lapse in coverage and that is affecting the claim, then an attorney could help. An attorney would have the knowledge and experience to help in these situations. Also, if there are delays in the court system an attorney could keep the car accident survivor updated on their case progress and potentially give an estimated timeline of how long this might take.
A car accident attorney could also minimize delays, give advice on how to protect the claim’s value, and give realistic insights to how this claim could be settled to manage expectations.
COVID-19 has affected car accident claims and has made it more difficult for survivors to get fair compensation. Hiring a car accident attorney could help a survivor get fair compensation while making the overall process easier to handle.