Can You File a Car Accident Lawsuit During the Pandemic?

A red car with driver's-side damageMost people who are injured in a traffic accident don’t immediately start wondering who they can sue and how quickly can they do so. Getting medical treatment, repairing or replacing their car, talking to their insurance company – all of these things typically come before thoughts of filing a lawsuit following an injury in a car accident. But sometimes, when the other driver is at fault, and you aren’t getting satisfaction or think you aren’t being treated fairly by their insurance company, your thoughts may, indeed, turn to filing a lawsuit to seek proper compensation for your damages. 

So if you decide to call an Atlanta car accident lawyer to talk about a lawsuit to recover damages for your accident, will anyone answer the phone? Given all the restrictions on business and life in general during the COVID-19 pandemic, can you even file a lawsuit right now? In Georgia, the answer to both questions is “yes.” Legal services have been designated an essential business in the Peach State, unlike many other states across the nation. That means lawyers’ offices likely are open, subject to certain restrictions. You might have to meet with a lawyer by telephone or online video conferencing, but you can get the legal help you need to file a lawsuit to recover for your injuries.

What Will Happen If I File a Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations in Georgia has not been affected by the pandemic, so you still will be subject to the usual time requirement to file a lawsuit – two years for traffic accident injuries. Also, Georgia’s courtrooms are closed, and most hearings now are being conducted remotely, either by telephone or video conferencing. The state Supreme Court recently extended the judicial emergency that resulted in the suspension of jury trials for another 30 days, but officials hope to resume holding jury trials in person in mid-March. If circumstances don’t permit that, it is likely the emergency order will be extended for another 30 days, and hearings and other court functions will continue to be held remotely.

However, COVID or not, the odds are very high you will never have to worry about whether the state will resume holding jury trials, in person or otherwise. Even before COVID came to town, the vast majority of personal injury cases, including traffic accident injuries, settled before going to trial. If anything, COVID makes pre-trial settlement even more likely.

Historically, the settlement rate for personal injury cases runs between 85 and 97 percent. Different studies reach different results – most study suits in a single judicial district rather than the entire country, so variance is to be expected. One study by the federal government found that only about three percent of all personal injury cases, including traffic accidents, eventually went to trial. A study at Cornell University Law School determined that fewer than 90 percent of personal injury cases settle, but that the settlement rate might be as high as 87 percent. There are other studies that indicate as many as 95 percent of personal injury cases settle. No matter which study you look at, the odds of settling before trial are really high.

If You Were Injured in A Traffic Accident, Contact The Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys of Slappey & Sadd

COVID pandemic or not, if you have been injured in a traffic accident, you still can explore your options for compensation for your damages. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case. Our attorneys serve the entire state of Georgia, including Smyrna, Decatur, and Marietta. 

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