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How Will the Coronavirus Affect My Personal Injury Case?

In case navigating a personal injury claim wasn’t challenging enough on its own, now you have to do so in the middle of a serious pandemic. Luckily, you’re not alone. Many others are in the same boat as you right now, and there are hard-working attorneys ready to help you explore your options and get what you deserve.

A lot depends on the specific details of your case. However, there are several ways that the pandemic could affect your case and its timeline.

Insurance Companies Are Jumping On COVID-19 to Limit Payouts

To start, you should expect a tougher fight with the insurance company as you try to negotiate a settlement for your injuries. Insurance companies are difficult to work with in the best of times, and right now, they are pushing back even harder. They face serious losses to their bottom line as people cancel insurance to save money or downgrade their policies. They stand to save a lot of money if they can convince victims to accept paltry settlements.

Additionally, many courts across the country are closed or running at minimal capacity during the pandemic. Insurance companies know this, and they know that most victims don’t want to wait months or years for a court award. They use this information to get the upper hand during negotiations and try to convince you to either accept less or take your chances in court.

This is just one reason that it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney that you trust. They have substantial experience working with insurance adjusters, so you definitely want one fighting for you as you try to get a settlement.

Anticipate Delays and Follow Your Attorney’s Lead

Delays are inevitable right now, but a skilled attorney can minimize delays and help you get through this time with minimal stress. If your case goes to court, you may have to wait until county courts reopen and accept new filings before you can fight the insurance company for compensation.

Most personal injury claims never get this far. Most are settled out of court. Because of this, it’s important to be patient and follow your attorney’s lead. The insurance company handling your claim could be overloaded at this time as people report accidents, seek payouts, and try to downgrade their coverage to save money. Your attorney knows this and can help you understand the timeline and prepare for potential delays.

Factors That Could Complicate a Personal Injury Case

Certain factors could make your case much more complicated. If any of these apply to you, talk to your attorney and figure out your next steps.

  • The liable party is now broke. COVID-19 has economically devastated many people. If you were in the process of suing the liable party and they have lost a substantial amount of money, your recovery options may be limited. Discuss this with your lawyer, as many individuals still have assets that can be used to pay damages.
  • The liable party canceled their insurance policy prior to the accident that injured you. If your claim occurred after the COVID-19 crisis started, consider the fact that some people canceled their car insurance policies to save money as their financial situation worsened. If the person who hit you was driving without insurance, you may not be able to recover very much from them. Those who cannot afford insurance are likely to have other assets that could be used to compensate you after an accident.
  • You are unable to get medical care because of closed clinics. Personal injury cases depend heavily on medical evidence. With many clinics and hospitals closing except for emergency cases, you might have a hard time finding a medical professional to assess and treat your injuries. If this is the case, your attorney may be able to connect you with a care provider that is working through the pandemic.
  • Your work closed because of COVID-19 and you’re not sure if you are entitled to lost wages in your claim. This is one of the unique situations caused by a pandemic that has shuttered much of the economy. This may depend on the type of work you do, whether or not they have work-from-home options, and whether or not they are paying impacted workers during this time.

With an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side, you can navigate the claims process with confidence and ease. While it may be more difficult to settle a claim during a pandemic, it certainly isn’t impossible. If you’re looking for a lawyer who is up to the challenge, contact Mann & Potter, PC today. Call us or reach out online to discuss your options.

Dangers of Speeding Trucks

Because 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers are so heavy and large, it is vital that truck drivers operate the vehicles with the highest level of attention and care. Many operators mistakenly believe that there is nothing wrong with speeding. While the legal penalties associated with driving over the posted limited aren’t anything close to a DUI, the lifelong consequences for accident victims can be the same or worse.

Statistics show that speeding trucks not only cause serious crashes with injuries, but also claim lives. In Alabama alone, there were over 7,500 trucks involved in crashes in 2017, and speeding was listed as the specific cause in 356 of them. However, it was no doubt a secondary cause in the majority of other accidents as well.

Why Speeding Trucks Are So Dangerous

There is a common misconception about the definition of speeding. While it is true that speeding refers to driving faster than the posted speed limit, it can also mean driving a truck too fast for current conditions. For example, operating a truck on a road with a 65-mph speed limit when that speed would be unsafe in a blizzard or heavy thunderstorm.

Few things are as dangerous as a truck that is speeding down the road. The NHTSA reports that speed is a contributing factor in one-third of fatal accidents. The danger is compounded for everyone on the road when the vehicle speeding is an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer. Some of the reasons that speeding trucks are so dangerous include:

  • Increased stopping distance. 18-wheelers need much more distance to stop than the average vehicle. When there is excessive or inappropriate speed involved, the distance required to stop will be even greater.
  • Difficulty turning. Large trucks must make wide turns and need to drastically reduce speed to navigate corners. If the driver is speeding, they might overcorrect or overshoot a turn.
  • Shifting cargo. The vibrations caused by excessive speed can cause a truck’s cargo to shift, which can unbalance the vehicle. This increases the chance of a rollover accident.
  • Increased jackknife and rollover risk. Tractor-trailers have a high center of gravity, so they are already at risk of rollover and jackknife accidents, but high speeds increase this risk.
  • Truck tires not made for high speed. The Associated Press published a story revealing that most commercial trucks have tires that aren’t meant for high speeds. Specifically, large truck tires are designed to be driven at 75 mph or less, so higher speeds can increase the odds of a blowout.
  • More difficult to control. Large trucks are harder to control at higher speeds. Not only will the operator have less time to react to unexpected events and road conditions, but the truck is also limited in maneuverability at high speeds.

The Department of Transportation Regulations on Speeding

Truck drivers have a variety of reasons for speeding, and none of them are justified. Some might want to make a delivery deadline and others are simply frustrated with the traffic on the road. The FMCSA has issued regulations meant to keep commercial trucks from speeding in dangerous conditions.

Under the rules, trucks are supposed to slow the speed and use extreme caution, regardless of the posted speed limit, when the following scenarios are present:

  • A truck is entering a curve in a road;
  • A truck is driving with a fully-loaded trailer;
  • A truck is driving through a work or construction zone;
  • The weather creates hazardous road conditions; or
  • When pulling off an exit ramp.

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck where speed was a factor, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

How a Qualified Truck Accident Attorney Can Help After a Crash

An accident with a big rig can be incredibly traumatic, and most victims of these crashes find themselves overwhelmed by the claims process and other obstacles suddenly in their path. Between speaking with insurance adjusters, doctors, and trying to recover from your injuries, this can be a difficult time.

At Mann & Potter, P.C., we have extensive experience guiding people just like yourself through this legal process so you can focus on reclaiming your life. Our legal team will not only protect your rights to recovery from the responsible parties, but also speak directly with the insurance companies so that you don’t have to. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a crash with a commercial truck, our qualified Alabama personal injury attorneys know what it takes to investigate these matters and pursue the just compensation you need and deserve. Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-879-9661 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation.