What’s Different about Car Accidents During the Pandemic?
By Space Coast Daily // October 8, 2020
So much has changed in the past few months because of the pandemic, but many are curious to see the true impact of the pandemic’s influence.
There is extensive evidence on how the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed delivery services, caused a spike in plexiglass sales, and drastically changed schools across the country. However, another unexpected change from the coronavirus has been the process of car accident cases.
While the past few months have allowed legislators, lawyers, and law enforcement officials time to recollect in the face of the new normal, car accident cases are still being handled differently than they would have typically been handled without the pressures of a pandemic. From the immediate handling of a car accident by first responders to seeking medical care, car accident cases are much more nuanced than ever before.
Many do not anticipate being involved in a car accident, but as information continues to roll out about the pandemic’s effect on traffic patterns, there may be a higher chance of an unsafe driver crossing another driver’s path.
With less commuters on the road, and an overall decrease in traffic due to the high number of people working from home, there have been more reckless drivers recorded on roadways across America. Higher speeds, less cautious drivers, and changing regulations on what organizations are allowed to operate shows that drivers may be at a greater risk driving during the pandemic.
As the country adjusts to the new normal, those involved in car accidents may find that their case is handled a bit differently than cases in years or even months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are just a few of the ways that a person’s car accident case may be altered to account for increased regulations and business availability related to COVID-19 changes.
How New Regulations Come into Play
Since the coronavirus is a contagious disease, new regulations and guidelines have been implemented to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Whether at a grocery store, a restaurant or even for first responders to car accidents, many normal proceedings are influenced by state and federal COVID-19 regulations.
With typical car accidents, there are many points of contact between people. In minor car accidents, like fender benders or small scrapes to a vehicle, normally both parties will exchange insurance information, take pictures of the accident, and call police.
If the car accident is minor and there are no injuries, only a police officer may be called to take statements, assess the situation, and create a police report. In more serious cases, first responders and emergency vehicles like ambulances may be called to the scene to treat injuries or transport victims to a local hospital.
In a world dominated by COVID-19, this normal procedure has been changed to ensure the safety of all of the parties involved. All parties will be asked to wear masks or facial coverings if possible. It is also advisable to not touch another person’s belongings, such as their insurance card, door handles, or phones, to prevent the spread of germs.
When the police come, there may be a required six-foot distance between parties to mitigate any health risks while giving statements about the accident. If a person requires medical attention, there may be limitations on the number of people who can ride in the ambulance to the hospital and what things they could take with them
Going to the Hospital – not as Easy as Before
Whether immediately after a car accident or a few hours later, a person may consider seeking medical attention for any tenderness, aches, or pains they have. If the injuries are major, the best thing a person could do after an accident is call emergency services and wait at the scene of the accident for the ambulance to arrive.
New Procedures – Starting Your Lawsuit Virtually
In the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses and operations had to close their doors in order to protect themselves and patrons from the potential spread of a relatively unknown disease. Even courthouses had to shut their doors for a brief period of time to create a game plan on how to best deliver justice in the wake of a global pandemic.
Now, like many businesses, courthouses are open and functional for civil and criminal cases. However, while there may be social distancing rules imposed, limited courtroom capacity, and other changes made to typical court proceedings, there is still a waiting period for many courts across the country because of the period of time the courts were closed.
One way courts have gotten around the wait time for those pursuing justice is to offer the opportunity to begin the process online for some cases. Many civil courts across the country are allowing lawsuits to proceed online to minimize the number of people within a courthouse at any given time and to speed up the process of justice.
“After a car accident during the pandemic, a person can immediately begin their car accident claim against the other driver with an attorney online,” said Attorney John Cooper from Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, “By finding an experienced local car accident lawyer, a person could not only begin their claim immediately, but their lawyer can fight for their rights while doing everything online.”
Best Ways to Avoid Car Accidents
Car accidents are never easy, especially during a global pandemic. If a person is involved in a car accident during COVID-19, it’s important to know that justice or compensation isn’t negated because of coronavirus. Instead, things look a little different than how a car accident case would proceed before.
Some of the best ways to avoid car accidents come down to preventing one thing: distractions.
A person should try to minimize or prevent distractions when they get behind the wheel of a car. Whether this is turning down the music, asking for passengers to be calm while in the car, or more serious decisions like not drinking or utilizing substances before driving, a person should try to prevent distractions from influencing their driving. Other great rules to follow are to know and adhere to any traffic laws while on the road and stay aware of the car’s surroundings.
Of course, many car accidents are the fault of a negligent driver as opposed to both parties being at fault. If this is the case for a driver who was not the negligent party, they may benefit from the help of a knowledgeable car accident attorney.
Not only will their attorney help them pursue the compensation they may be owed after an accident, but they may also be able to help a person navigate the complex process of a car accident case during the strange and nuanced times of COVID-19.