COVID-19 is causing disruptions throughout the world in most facets of life. The number of businesses closed in the United States is staggering, and this includes the courts in many states. In South Carolina, the courts are open, although functioning differently than before COVID-19 struck. Hearings are backed up from the shutdown in mid-March, and hearings that require witnesses or cross examinations must be postponed until the court is open to the public.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations in a personal injury claim is three years. You must file your claim within three years of your personal injury in order to seek damages for your case. While no trials can occur while the court is not open physically to the public, a claim can still be filed because court personnel are working remotely. Your personal injury attorney can file an initial claim, work on the discovery process, and file motions with the court in order to keep your case on track.
Negotiation and Mediation Can Still Occur
Many personal injury claims don’t go to trial, as both parties are willing to negotiate a settlement to avoid a lengthy trial. Your attorney can represent you in mediation, trying to get you a deal that you are comfortable with. As discovery is gathered, your personal injury attorney will have a good idea of how strong your case is and work to negotiate a settlement that is fair to you.
If depositions are needed for your personal injury claim, these can be done remotely. Witness statements can be gathered, and your personal injury lawyer can prepare for your trial for when the time comes. As COVID-19 gets under control, courts are expected to become accessible to the public so that cases can move forward.
COVID-19 Won’t Stop Your Personal Injury Claim
If you have bills piling up because of a personal injury, they aren’t going to stop just because COVID-19 is around. An attorney can work with you to discuss the merits of your case and prepare an initial claim for court. The system is accepting new filings, and you will be able to schedule a hearing if necessary once the court is open to the public again.
While life is different for everyone at this time as new systems are put into place for the safety matters because of COVID-19, the court system will open with new protocols in place to keep the risk of COVID-19 community spread down. If you have a personal injury case and you aren’t sure if your case can be managed during the pandemic, it is important to understand that plenty of work can be done. With e-filing systems, remote depositions and the ability to conference through video means, the legal system has not come to a halt.
Your personal injury claim can be worked on throughout the pandemic, and will continue to get the attention it deserves.