The Impact of the Pandemic on Personal Injury Lawsuits
The pandemic throttled just about every major industry in the country and that included the legal industry. With fears over the coronavirus spreading, the courts held remote hearings for criminal defendants only when absolutely necessary. Important things like bail hearings and criminal pleadings were done over Zoom while all but a few personal injury lawsuits were mothballed by the pandemic. At least one personal injury lawsuit was held entirely over Zoom. But concerns over whether or not the process could be appealed and when a real jury would be allowed to hear a case forced more lawyers into settling earlier than they would like.
One of the extralegal concepts that influence the law is pressure. Plaintiffs who are seriously injured face more pressure to settle early than those who do not. These plaintiffs generally face financial constraints more severely than others who have injuries that still allow them to work. Without income coming in and with medical expenses piling up, insurance companies or opposing counsel can offer lowball offers that take some of the financial pressure off a defendant but still allow the defendant to settle the case for far more than it’s worth. That is one type of pressure that plaintiffs face.
Another type of pressure is the pressure of a trial. Insurance companies and civil defense attorneys loathe juries. Juries often sympathize with the injured and hence deliver verdicts in favor of the injured, sometimes delivering devastating “nuclear” verdicts if they think the defendant’s actions were egregious enough. So the pressure of an impending trial often forces civil defense attorneys and insurance companies to settle before the trial date. That isn’t always the case, but for most lawsuits, the pressure to settle will shift to the defense before the case reaches a jury.
So what happens when the plaintiff isn’t given a trial date? Well, all the pressure remains on the plaintiff and none of the pressure is transferred to the defense. This forced many plaintiff’s attorneys to settle their cases early and ensure that their struggling clients had some money to get them over such a difficult period.
Indeed, the situation was ideal for civil defense attorneys, insurance companies, and defendants, but plaintiffs without trial dates have much less room to leverage the opposing side in lawsuits. There was no pressure to settle the case early or offer decent settlements without a trial date. The pressure was gone. This forced some plaintiff’s attorneys to accept settlements on behalf of clients who needed the money immediately and would rather have less money now than more money at some indefinite point in the future.
Now that the pandemic is in the waning stages, and the vaccine is making its way to the American public, the courts should begin hearing cases again.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another individual, you are likely owed damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced quality of life. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.