All aspects of our daily lives have been affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. Even as lockdown eases and we take our first tentative steps forward, it seems clear that it will be some time before we are back to any semblance of normality.
For these reasons, many of those with outstanding personal injury claims and those considering making a claim will be wondering what effect the pandemic will have on them. We consider some of the most common questions below.
Is Harper Macleod still open?
Yes, we are. Although our offices remain closed to protect our staff and clients, we are working remotely from home. Our robust business continuity provisions have enabled us to make the transition seamlessly and we are currently doing our utmost to progress our clients' claims as we normally would, as well as taking on new claims.
Are the courts still open?
Yes, they are. It is true that the courts have been operating with reduced staff and it has not been possible for evidential hearings involving the attendance of witnesses to take place. It is acknowledged that a return to business as usual will not be feasible in the near future. However, the courts have been adapting to the new challenges and are frequently issuing updated guidance as to how court business should be conducted. Many hearings are now taking place remotely by telephone or video conference and documents which require to be lodged are being accepted electronically. It will be interesting to see how many of these new measures remain in place as we move towards a "new normal".
What about medical experts?
As part of your claim, you will almost always require to see an independent medical expert to consider the extent and cause of your injuries, any treatment needs you may have and your future prognosis. As a result of social distancing, face-to-face appointments cannot of course take place just now. However, where possible and if appropriate, experts are conducting assessments remotely via platforms such as FaceTime/Zoom/Skype etc. This will not be appropriate in all cases and sometimes, a report commissioned in this way will require to be provisional and subject to a later appointment in person. Nevertheless, such reports may still help to progress matters and can be used, for example, to support a request for an interim payment.
Harper Macleod has entered into agreement with a number of insurers whereby the insurers will accept medical reports based on appointments conducted remotely. In addition, this agreement extends to the insurers funding certain treatment remotely, such as physiotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. This means that your recovery will not be delayed unnecessarily.
Should I make a claim just now?
The current COVID-19 situation is presents various challenges to the legal sector. However, our experience thus far has been that the majority of law firms, insurers, courts, experts and treatment providers have shown resilience and a willingness to adapt and innovate in order to progress and conclude personal injury claims in these difficult times.
Get in touch
We at Harper Macleod are currently working remotely and accepting new instructions. It is important to remember that there are strict time limits which apply to making a personal injury claim. You should therefore not delay in making an enquiry during the pandemic.
Our Personal Injury solicitors provide free legal advice and there are no upfront costs. For more information on the type of injuries, you can claim for use the buttons below, or to speak to a specialist solicitor about making a no win no fee claim freephone 0800 904 777. To send details of your claim and to request a callback complete our simple online form here.