There are very few areas of our lives that are not affected by COVID-19 right now and unfortunately, injury settlements and court cases are no exception. Some aspects of life do not stop in the midst of a pandemic like work accidents, car accidents, and other work-related hazards.
These cases and claims still need to be filed. The big question is, will COVID-19 affect my injury settlement in Illinois? Unfortunately, it will. One way or another, your case will be affected.
There are a few key areas in which any given case could be affected during this time. The time it takes to get a settlement for your case due to limited court functions, the way insurance companies will be responding to claims, and the amount of worker’s compensation claims that will be filed all play a part.
How Will I Be Affected?
How exactly you are affected will depend on what kind of claim or case you have as well as where you are in the process. If you had a claim filed with the courts before COVID-19 closed everything down, you will likely move through the process at a slower pace than usual but faster than a new case.
New cases will take longer and with insurance companies still working claims but trying to find more ways to deny or pay less on claims, it will be a bit of a difficult situation. Let’s look a little closer at the different situations.
Many courts are closed to hear cases but the clerks and judges are still working virtually. They are answering emails, working on claims that are filed, and prioritizing cases that can not be put off until social distancing ends.
It quite often takes weeks to hear back from court clerks when it comes to claims but with the current circumstances, it could be months to hear anything at all. This will, of course, affect the speed of resolving a settlement.
Insurance claims will be affected as well. Insurance companies are likely to try to make up their bottom line by denying claims or trying to pay less than they should. It is extremely important that you are swift with following the appropriate steps if you need to file a claim.
In the case of an accident, even if you are afraid to go to the doctor or hospital because of COVID-19, you need to go see a doctor. If you are injured but have no proof that it happened in the accident, the insurance company will use that as a reason to deny your claim.
Why are they trying to make up the bottom line? With the economic hardships that have come from this pandemic, people will not be able to pay certain bills and insurance premiums may be some of the first to not be paid. This hurts the insurance companies. They will try not to pay a large number of claims to make up for it.
If you are exposed to COVID-19 at work, you may be able to apply for worker’s compensation but only in certain industries. Because this virus is transmitted easily from person to person and community spread is not uncommon, you will have to prove that you work in a high-risk setting to receive benefits.
High-risk jobs include the following industries.
- Health Care Workers
- First Responders
- Travel Industry
- Hospitality Industry
- Maintenance and Cleaning Crews
If you are not an employee in one of these fields and get COVID-19 you will not be able to make a claim for benefits.