The Covid-19 pandemic changed how we work, shop, interact, gather, live, and so much more. The novel coronavirus even bestowed us with this phrase for our pandemic and post-pandemic way of life, “the new normal.”
The judicial system was not spared from the pandemic and all its modifications, limitations, and restrictions. With most all jury trials in civil cases such as personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits paused, the wheels of justice ground to a halt for many, many cases. Cases were stalled, trails were postponed, and the filing deadlines that drive litigation were suspended. Not only did this mean that cases were not able to be tried. It also meant that, without the possibility of a trial or impending deadline, cases (particularly larger ones with more dollars at stake) were difficult to get settled.
Civil cases involving multiple defendants with fact disputes regarding who is at fault and the severity of damages are complex by nature and challenging to prove. These cases almost always end up in a lawsuit and quite frequently are tried. If they are settled, they are only settled under the threat of a trial. Even before the pandemic and with sufficient court staffing, it can take two years or more before a case goes to trial. Only in the past few months have courts held jury trials at a pace resembling pre-pandemic schedules.
In addition to delays, new laws and executive orders on both federal and state levels have complicated some types of claims. For instance, Governor Kemp issued executive orders making it difficult to bring a lawsuit arising from Covid exposure and protecting healthcare professionals and hospitals from liability during the pandemic, regardless of whether those professionals were even involved in caring for Covid patients.
I like to analogize where we are now to a traffic jam on the freeway in which the cause of the jam has finally been removed. Yes, traffic is now moving. However, cars have been backed up for miles and miles. It will still be slow moving up to the point where the traffic jam began. This is because even during the pandemic, lawsuits continued to enter the system at a constant rate, but not much could be done after those lawsuits were filed. Lawyers for insurance companies are now overloaded with cases. Getting on their calendars to schedule depositions, hearings, and everything else that has to be done before a case can be tried is extremely challenging.
The other side of this is that, in my recent experience, busy defense lawyers and the insurers that pay them finally appear motivated to settle cases that should be settled. Courts are holding lawyers feet to the fire to be ready to go once a case is placed on the trial calendar. Technology such as Zoom has helped increase the efficiency by which pretrial motions and hearings are decided, helping to unclog the traffic jam.
The short answer is yes, even if your injury arises from medical malpractice. However, if your or a loved one’s injury was actually due to Covid, the case is probably not viable. Laws protecting businesses from liability due to Covid exposure will likely be upheld. The newness of the virus itself also makes such cases extremely challenging.
Furthermore, you should act quickly. The statute of limitations, or the period in which you have to bring a lawsuit following a personal injury, remains two years from the date of the injury. The time period in which the statute of limitations was tolled (or paused) during the pandemic, was very short and only applies to injuries before July 14, 2020.
If you or a loved one were harmed during the pandemic by a medical professional or otherwise, it is crucial that you contact an experienced personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer. For a successful outcome, the plaintiff must establish failure to follow due care, which is often more difficult than it would seem. Evidence required to prove these cases must be gathered comprehensively, examined meticulously, and held up to every letter of the law.
The Baer Law Firm has the experience and resources required to prevail in a medical malpractice case. Our goal is to provide honest advice, quality counsel, and compassionate care throughout the legal process, from consultation to compensation. If you were seriously injured during the pandemic, we encourage you to contact our office at The Baer Law Firm or call us at 404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237).
Bryan Baer, principal and founding partner of The Baer Law Firm, has over 20 years of experience litigating catastrophic injury and medical malpractice cases. He has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for his clients, earning his membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Bryan has earned a Super Lawyer designation since 2016 as well as Georgia Trends Legal Elite. He has also received a Top 40 Under 40 designation from The National Trial Lawyers in 2014 and is one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.