How COVID-19 Affects Your Personal Injury Claim
The courthouses in all 21 New Jersey counties are currently closed due to the pandemic. You may be wondering how that impacts your personal injury case. As you will see below, even though some things have been changed or put on hold, for the most part, your case continues to proceed through the legal system.
In many cases, discovery is still able to continue even though the courthouses are closed. While you may think of discovery as consisting only of face-to-face depositions, the truth is that much of discovery is document and other information requests. The parties can still engage in this at any time since no physical presence is required to conduct much of discovery.
When it comes to depositions, nearly all in-person meetings have come to a halt right now during COVID-19. Attorneys are having to change how they conduct depositions if they want to hold them at all during this time. There is the possibility of video depositions, but it does require some advanced planning since documents often need to be shown to the witness during the deposition. The deponent may even have to be alone during the deposition and in a different location than the court reporter. However, it is theoretically possible to move cases forward during this time.
Statute of Limitations
The courthouse is physically closed for trials at this time, but the statute of limitations for your personal injury case continues to run. You may still submit filings to the court by email and regular mail, so this is not a situation where it is impossible to present your complaint.
Courts are very strict about the time limits for filing a lawsuit. When it comes to the statute of limitations, late is late with very few exceptions. If you miss the deadline, you will forever give up the right to sue for your claim. If you have had an accident in recent days, the time clock to file your case also starts from the date of the accident as opposed to when the courthouse physically opens. There is no allowance for any delays caused by coronavirus.
Working With Your Attorney
Your Morristown personal injury lawyer is open for business right now. Even if we cannot physically see you, our virtual offices are open all the time. You should know that advances in technology have made the practice of law independent of a physical office.
While we may not be able to see you in person for some time, you can reach us at any time to discuss your case. We can even exchange documents with you and continue to investigate your case during this time. Your attorney is still completely engaged with your case even if he is working remotely.
Unfortunately, if you were scheduled to have a civil trial during this time, you have been informed that the case is postponed indefinitely. We wish that we could give you a clearer answer about when your trial will take place, but it is dependent on when the courts reopen and how individual judges manage and prioritize their dockets. When your actual case will be held depends on several factors, many of which are beyond your control.
However, you should know that the figurative wheels of justice are still turning at this time. Chances are that you may have filing deadlines in your case when an answer or a motion may be due. Judges are still requiring the parties to still advance their cases during this time. Some judges may give some flexibility to the parties depending on the circumstances that they face. Judges may even have telephone calls with the attorneys in the case to discuss matters. In other words, just because there are no trials does not mean that your case does not proceed.
Contact Morristown personal injury lawyer Gregg A. Wisotsky, Esq. to learn more about how the pandemic will affect your personal injury case. You can reach us at (973) 898-0161 to set up your initial consultation.