Most of the time, someone who is injured in an accident – traffic or any other kind – thinks first of getting medical attention. Other early steps might be to file a claim with their auto insurer if it was a traffic accident, and perhaps to arrange means of transportation if their car was totaled in the accident. At some point after the accident, many people will consult with a Chicago personal injury attorney to determine if they might be entitled to compensation beyond what their own auto, health, and other insurance might cover.
Now, though, with the COVID-19 virus shutting down substantial portions of society, accident victims might wonder if they still can receive an injury settlement during the current pandemic. A Chicago personal injury attorney can help with that, too.
The numbers change by the hour it seems, but nationwide federal officials recently reported nearly 400,000 COVID-19 cases, with a total of nearly 13,000 deaths in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several territories. In Illinois, as of April 7, there were more than 15,000 infections statewide and 462 deaths. On March 9, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster declaration that included a stay-at-home order. That order was renewed on April 1 for at least 30 days. Many businesses were declared non-essential and ordered to close. Unlike some states, Illinois did not declare law firms non-essential, and they have been allowed to remain open.
As it is, many law firms are nonetheless having employees work from home to help avoid the spread of COVID-19. And if law firms are open, the courts are only just barely so. Statewide and in Cook County, courts are hearing only emergency issues, and virtually all criminal and civil trials have been continued until further notice. Cook County has continued most court actions until April 15, with an extension considered likely.
In spite of all that, none of this has brought injury settlements to a halt. Negotiations between your lawyer and the defendant’s attorney or insurance company – insurance companies also have been included on the list of essential businesses not required to close – can continue during the statewide shutdown. If your lawyer is able to reach a settlement with the defendant that is acceptable to you, there is no obstacle to your receiving a settlement payment even if the governor’s shutdown order is still in effect. Except in a few limited cases, mostly involving minors and class actions, injury settlements do not require court approval in Illinois.
If you have suffered a personal injury, no matter what kind of accident it might have involved, the lawyers of Malman Law stand ready to assist you in obtaining a settlement, even in these disrupted times. The lawyers of Malman Law specialize in personal injury, as well as other practice areas. You can reach us at (312) 629-0099 or through our website.