With over 75,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the state of New Jersey, financial stresses due to the virus are hitting the state hard. Unfortunately this includes not only everyday citizens who have lost jobs, but businesses including insurance companies. While it is too soon to grasp the full extent to which COVID-19 will impact personal injury claims, there are several factors that are likely impacting current claims. I’ll tell you more about what to consider when it comes to insurance claims, as well as how a Passaic County personal injury lawyer may be able to help.
Look out for Lowball Insurance Offers
As people continue to experience devastating financial stress and job loss due to COVID-19, they may be more likely to settle a personal injury claim as soon as they can simply because they need the money. Additionally, with so many court cases currently being delayed, many people are feeling impatient, and considering settling their case for less than it is worth to avoid waiting to go to court.
The point here is not to blame accident victims for this situation, but to make them more vigilant about considering whether a settlement offer is fair. Insurance companies are also experiencing financial hardships, and are more likely to be extending lowball offers: taking advantage of accident victims to preserve their companies’ bottom lines. Keep in mind that the first offer made by an insurance company is almost always lower than what you should accept, and that offers during the pandemic may be even lower than usual.
So, what should you do if you think an offer for your claim is too low? Even if you need the money, it is in your best interest to not accept the offer. Always try to have a number in mind that is the lowest amount you will settle for, and do not settle for less. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, either: you should treat the insurer as you usually would and put yourself first.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if insurance companies continue to refuse to negotiate or offer fair settlements, the unfortunate reality is that we will see more personal injury cases going to court. If you are having trouble successfully negotiating, contact our personal injury lawyers in Passaic County for help. We have decades of experience fighting for victims’ rights and helping them be fairly compensated for their claims even when companies don’t want to pay.
Make Sure to Get Necessary Medical Treatment
Whether you were injured in a car accident in recent days or are currently undergoing medical treatment due to a past personal injury, it is essential to remember that getting treatment is crucial to being fairly compensated for your injuries, pain, and suffering. This means you should continue to complete all medical treatments on time if possible, including visits to specialists and physical therapists.
Obviously visiting the doctor or hospital can be challenging and frightening right now, as New Jersey hospitals are overtaxed due to COVID-19 cases. In addition, people are scared of becoming sick, and may fail to seek treatment in order to stay safe. Others fear long waits in emergency rooms or for appointments. These concerns are of course reasonable, but your first priority should remain getting the treatment you need. Keep your medical appointments to the degree to which you are able. While at your appointment, wear a face mask, practice good social distancing, and wash your hands. If you have questions about how this could affect your specific case, get in touch with Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli for a free consultation.
Understand Car Insurance Issues
When it comes to car insurance issues that could impact your claim, there are two you should be particularly aware of. First, if you have been financially impacted by COVID-19, your first impulse may be to save money by canceling your car insurance. However, even if you are currently driving minimally, if you get in an accident without insurance coverage, even if you are not at fault, it can cause serious problems. This is especially true in New Jersey because we are a no-fault state and accident victims must first settle accident claims with their own insurer. If you are struggling financially, it is in your best interest to contact your insurer and see if they will allow you to delay payment. Many insurers are offering this option due to COVID-19.
Another issue that can arise is if you get into an accident caused by a driver without insurance. If your injuries are minor and you have insurance, you will simply file a claim against your own policy. (If this happens, you should of course look out for lowball offers.) If your auto policy includes underinsured/uninsured coverage, you can rely on this. However, if you suffer injuries that are serious enough that you are allowed to sue under New Jersey law, it may be difficult for you to recover damages. If you find yourself in this stressful situation, your first step should be to contact a Passaic County personal injury lawyer.
When to Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
These are just some of the many hurdles you could face with a personal injury claim during COVID-19. Because these situations can be incredibly stressful during an already stressful time, it may be worth it to contact a personal injury attorney for advice on the best course of action for your circumstances.
At Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli, we are committed to helping you and your family get the compensation you deserve after an accident, especially during this incredibly difficult time. Contact us for a free consultation to talk about your case in more detail at (973) 785-9522.