COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on many areas of our lives. In the world of personal injury claims, the restrictions on travel and face-to-face meetings, and the pause on court operations, has led to delays and a backlog of hearings.
However, it is important to know that if you are thinking of making a claim after an accident or injury, or have already started this process, you can still proceed. The pandemic may have imposed numerous limits on our work and personal lives, but it has not removed your right to access justice.
Our team continues to work hard, advising and representing clients. We have embraced new ways of operating to help your claim progress as quickly as possible and with the best chance of success during these challenging times. Further, the Scottish courts are now taking advantage of digital methods to ensure effective dispute resolution can continue.
Here, our Personal Injury Lawyers provide essential information on claiming compensation during COVID-19. If you have any questions or would like to start your claim today, please contact us for free initial advice.
During lockdown, the Scottish courts were closed for all but essential business. The good news for litigated claims is that they have now reopened, albeit with a backlog of cases.
If you had a hearing cancelled because of lockdown, you should have or will soon receive a rescheduled date for the proof. New cases are likely to progress at a slower pace through the system than they would under normal circumstances. However, efforts are being made to prevent cases from stalling, including measures that allow parties to either resolve their matters or advance their claims within the court process.
Even if your claim can be settled outside of court, there may still be delays getting to this point. Difficulties posed by social distancing and busy workloads experienced by many of the parties involved can hold up the process.
At Lawford Kidd, our Personal Injury Solicitors are continuing to work from home for their safety and the protection of our clients. However, we remain responsive, using email and video calling to keep in touch with you. We will do everything we can to keep your claim moving along as swiftly as possible.
The All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court and the Court of Session are now set up to conduct proofs in personal injury cases remotely, using video conferencing technology. Virtual hearings have already taken place this year with success.
However, video conferencing will not be suitable in every situation. The details of each case will be considered carefully by the court to determine which method is most appropriate. Hearings held in-person may be arranged if video conferencing is deemed unsuitable and where social distancing is possible.
If your case requires a hearing, we will ensure you are fully briefed and prepared – whether it is to be held online or in-person. We are here to alleviate any concerns you may have about using unfamiliar technology, or about physically attending court during the pandemic.
As is always the case, our team will aim to settle your claim early, outside the courtroom, to save you stress, time and money. Settlement negotiations with insurers – which can easily be carried out by virtual means – are often successful and can lead to you receiving your compensation award promptly.
We will continue to gather vital evidence to strengthen your claim. This may include medical evaluations, witness statements, employment documents and police reports. However, the way we are collecting this information has changed, with greater reliance now on email, phone and video calls. We do expect delays when requesting certain evidence, especially medical records and police statements, as many organisations are under pressure and have other priorities as a result of the pandemic.
Medical examinations are a particular issue at the moment. Under normal circumstances, a medical professional would examine you in person and provide their expert opinion on the nature of your injuries and their current and long-term impact on your work and everyday life. This report is vital for your claim. At the moment, face-to-face assessments are only taking place in urgent cases. In some situations, however, it may be possible to arrange an online examination – we will advise whether this can happen. Alternatively, if a medical report cannot be produced, for the time being, we may be able to secure an interim payment from the insurer. Again, we will inform you if this is possible in your circumstances.
Please be assured that your dedicated Personal Injury Solicitor at Lawford Kidd will work hard to overcome the problems the pandemic is causing for the evidence-gathering process and will keep you updated regularly.
If you are considering making a personal injury claim now, our lawyers are here to support you. We understand during these unfamiliar and difficult times, a proactive and co-operative approach with insurers is especially important to reduce delays and save you money. To find out how our team can help, complete our online form or call us on 0808 278 3421.
If we take your case, you will get 100% compensation with our no win no fee policy. We look forward to hearing from you and to helping you claim the maximum amount of money you deserve.