As life seems to stop for many across the country, there are parts of life where business must continue as usual, or as close to usual as possible.
With regards to law and personal injury claims, you can be reassured that we at Winston Solicitors are set up to work from home. This means that ongoing claims can progress as they normally would do, albeit at a slower pace, due to restricted staff numbers.
Frequently asked personal injury questions in relation to COVID-19
In relation to my specific area of personal injury claims and the impact of COVID-19, these are the main issues and questions that have been raised by my clients:
- Will my medical report, which is needed as evidence of my claim, go ahead?
In answer to this question, the rules surrounding the medical examinations have been relaxed greatly. This means that several experts are changing to video appointments. This is not appropriate in all situations, depending on the specific expert and the injuries sustained by the client. It means that some pre-booked appointments are still going ahead as planned via Skype or something similar. However, many reporting experts are now unavailable to examine claimants online. This is due to the need to prioritise NHS patients over private medico-legal income.
- Will I receive my compensation if my claim was due to be settled?
There is no issue with payments being processed providing BACS transfers can be made instead of cheques. Most companies have this facility set up, although it may take longer for things to be processed.
- Will the high level of client/solicitor contact continue?
Yes, working from home is set up in the same way as working from the office. Clients can continue to contact me via direct dial to my home phone or via email. The only difference is the personal contact of coming into the office for a face to face meeting. The way round this is by using Zoom, meaning that every aspect of office life can be replicated when working from home.
- If a client has a case already going through the court process will it be affected?
The pandemic does pose various challenges for professional compliance with deadlines and directions. Correspondence with the courts can be made electronically and in some cases by phone. It is possible to request timetable variations and hearing adjournments in order to obtain procedural flexibility. This could be by changing to telephone/video hearings, as well as parties agreeing on extensions between themselves and the court, in order to obtain the medical evidence which may be delayed until lockdown is over.
- Is rehab, such as physio, still available?
There will be an unavoidable slow-down in rehabilitation momentum, meaning that claim life cycles will be extended because of this. Physio treatment is not generally appropriate to do over video or phone, so recovery rates may be slower for certain people requiring rehab treatment. This will inevitably prolong their claims whilst waiting for the treatment to be undertaken.