Importance of Personal Injury Law

Goals

To gain a more robust understanding of why personal injury law is vital to the profession and to consumers, now more than ever.

Early Findings

According to HG.org, "it is important to have a personal injury lawyer by your side if you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else. A lawyer can help you level the playing field since the other side will likely have a lawyer on his or her side. He or she can draw on resources like expert witnesses and private investigators when necessary."
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having an attorney for a personal injury case may be even more important, especially with many courts having been either shut down or limited due to lockdown regulations.
  • Justia indicates that "the financial stress caused by the COVID-19 outbreak may motivate many accident victims to settle a case as soon as possible. A victim may urgently need the money from their settlement, especially if they have lost their job. Some insurers may try to exploit this situation by offering an unfairly low settlement. A victim who has suffered serious injuries should think twice before accepting the first offer from the insurer. It likely will not cover the full scope of their losses. "
  • "If litigation develops, a victim also may expect stiffer resistance than usual from an insurer. Since the insurance industry expects profits to decline as the economy struggles, an insurer will be motivated to minimize the value of a claim and protect their bottom line more aggressively than ever. This could mean that more personal injury cases go to trial, or proceed further through litigation."
  • Additionally, "due to the deepening recession, some drivers may not keep up with paying their insurance premiums. This could result in the loss of coverage, which could complicate the situation of a victim after a car accident. A victim who is struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver may not be able to recover compensation from the driver’s personal assets. Their only option may involve pursuing benefits through their own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy with their insurer. In these cases, a victim should remember that their insurer is an adverse party and likely will not pay a claim without resistance. First-party claims may be just as contested as third-party claims, and the assistance of an attorney may be just as critical."
  • "The impact of Covid-19 has accelerated the use of technology as part of court procedure more quickly" than experts previously expected.
  • Nolo data indicates that increased pressure to settle, the inability to pay claims already settled, or court delays are likely to be major factors in personal injury cases for the foreseeable future.
  • National Law Review states, "plaintiffs’ attorneys are advertising for plaintiffs infected by COVID-19, and new COVID-19 personal injury lawsuits are being filed at a steady clip. In recent lawsuits, for example, employees and customers have sought to recover for financial and emotional damages caused by long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms and, in some cases, death. These developments suggest that companies will likely see increased personal injury litigation alleging the transmission of COVID-19. Below are some common questions and considerations about this new type of litigation."

Additional Findings

Summary

The time constraints of the discovery portion of research allowed for initial review to establish viability of continued research. The early findings indicate there is little to no information on this topic specific to why personal injury law is important right now because most of the data uncovered within the public domain is from individual law firms rather than neutral industry professionals.

As such, it is suggested that the path of research shift to complete a state-by-state review of whether illness or death from COVID-19 is covered by state workers’ compensation programs. Additionally, an overview of best practices and/or trends in personal injury marketing is suggested.

Proposed next steps:

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