As the nation’s hardest hit metro area, New York City has seen tremendous changes in recent weeks. However, as a City that’s weathered 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, and other tragedies, we are confident in the ability of our local leaders and fellow citizens to get us through these difficult times.
To both our existing clients, and to any individual or family who believes they have a potential personal injury or workers’ compensation claim, our team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. wants to send a reminder that your case is important, and can still be effectively handled during this time.
Though these are unique and unpredictable circumstances, victims and families can still begin the process of seeking compensation for their damages by pursuing civil injury or workers’ comp claims. For some who may be impacted by the coronavirus’ economic fallout, securing full and fair compensation following a preventable accident or work injury may be more important than ever.
How Coronavirus May Impact Personal Injury Cases
As interruptions, closures, and cancellations continue in the coordinated response to COVID-19, many victims and families have questions about how the coronavirus may impact pending or potential claims. The answer, like it is for many things during this time, is that it depends.
Though there is a great deal of uncertainty about the future, our firm is providing some insight on what to expect with legal proceedings as the nation confronts this pandemic – especially when it comes to:
- How attorneys are working; and
- How local courts are responding to the coronavirus.
Attorneys Working Remotely
Most law firms and attorneys in New York are deemed nonessential businesses and therefore must continue their practice and represent clients with legal matters remotely. The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. is complying with local guidance and taking extra precautions to protect our client and staff, ease the burden on our health care system, and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This means our attorneys are:
- Working from remote offices, where they are still able to handle critical aspects of our clients’ cases, collaborate with staff, and respond to potential clients who call for help.
- Leveraging technology to organize and access records, documentation, and information critical to our clients’ cases, and keep that information secure. We’re also able to use technology to conduct certain depositions and exchange discovery and other legal documents with defense counsel, restrictions providing.
- Communicating by telephone, e-mail, video conferencing, and other virtual communication methods to speak with clients, provide free consultations, and collaborate with fellow staff, attorneys, and experts on cases.
COVID-19’s Impact on New York Courts
In light of the extraordinary circumstances, New York’s court system has taken extraordinary measures to keep the public and its staff safe. Some of these efforts include:
- Essential Business Only: New York State Courts remain open for essential business, which includes certain criminal proceedings in City Courts, guardianship proceedings in Supreme Court, and certain child custody and emergency support matters in Family Courts. As noted in a press release from March 22, 2020, virtual court operations will be used in both criminal and family courts.
- Civil Statutes of Limitations Suspended: On Friday March 20, 2020 Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.8, which temporarily suspends civil statutes of limitation and non-essential court proceedings (including e-filed or hard copy claims) through April 19, 2020. Though this is a significant scale back on court operations, attorneys can still help victims by evaluating their cases, conducting investigations and research, initiating out-of-court proceedings, and building strong cases that can be filed as soon as emergency restrictions are lifted.
- No Jury Trials: As of now, emergency restrictions also mean NY Courts will not be conducting jury trials during the duration of emergency orders. However, cases can still be settled during this time, including through the use of private mediations conducted via teleconference.
Restrictions to New York State Courts are a reflection of our state’s commitment to fighting COVID-19, and while they may be far-reaching, they are considered necessary for a short duration of time. You can find additional information and updates regarding closures and emergency suspensions here.
These restrictions may very well impact or delay certain injury cases, especially those with upcoming hearings, trial dates, or filing deadlines, but they do not mean justice will be halted. Victims and families are still able to work with attorneys who have the resources, technology, and drive to weather these challenges, and will still be able to build strong and effective claims.
Call The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. to Discuss Your Case
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. is committed to serving our clients and the good people of New York through the coronavirus pandemic, and times of court closures and slow downs.
Our firm remains open for business, and while we are complying with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive to stay at home and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, our team will continue to provide the responsiveness, compassion, and personalized service for which we have become known in a manner that is safe for our clients, staff, and all those with whom we work.