COVID-19, also called Coronavirus, has had a massive impact on virtually every aspect of life in the United States. The states of New Jersey and New York have been especially hit hard with more than 359,000 confirmed cases and more than 18,000 deaths since the outbreak started*. If New Jersey and New York were counted as one country, this region would have the fourth most fatalities of any country the world.
The states of New Jersey and New York now have more cases than any other region in the country. As of April 22, 2020 five of the counties hit hardest are located in the states of New York and New Jersey. The counties of Queens, Kings, Bronx, Nassau and New York have the highest amount of fatalities in the United States. As a result of this high influx of COVID-19 cases, the county and state infrastructures have had to accommodate and adapt to the recent developments.
With state government officials implementing strict shelter in place orders to help flatten the curve, our state’s infrastructures have been inundated with cases of COVID-19. To help flatten the curve, the New Jersey and New York Court systems have shuttered their doors.
But what does that mean ongoing for potential litigation in these two states? How will COVID-19 impact personal injury cases and the courts in general? Let’s explore.
Court Closures in New Jersey & New York
Until further notice, the courts of New Jersey and New York are closed indefinitely. There is currently no timetable as to when the courts will reopen for normal day to day operations. However, extremely urgent matters and certain ongoing trials may continue.
Many New Jersey personal injury attorneys are able to process intake forms remotely and can file the required paperwork with the necessary entities. Although, with the uncertainty that a global pandemic presents, there are many questions that are currently unable to be answered.
Several states including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island’s governors have joined forces and aligned themselves with one another to announce when their states and the greater region will reopen. These states understand the importance of working together and this greater commerce region has decided to work together to implement a plan that will help mitigate unnecessary risks and exposure.
Both New Jersey and New York have been forced to close their courts doors and proceedings are conducted via videoconferencing.
Personal Injury Cases & Covid-19’s Impact
With the high amount of cases building while the courts are closed, the courts are doing their best to work their ways through these civil cases. However, the infrastructure of New Jersey and New York has been hit extremely hard. The greater region has not yet decided when it will reopen and the possibility of additional delays in court systems are entirely possible.
Additionally, getting attention for personal injuries that are less severe, or urgent may be problematic for a number of reasons. Doctors and nurses are working with limited resources and provide priority to more severe medical issues.
If you have been victimized from a personal injury not at fault of your own, and the injury is less than severe, it may be advisable to to contact your primary care physician and request a video conference. If this is unavailable it might be essential to go to urgent or emergency care. Follow social distancing protocols and ensure that you’re wearing proper PPE.
If you have filed a claim with your insurance company, they may try to get you to settle for a minimal amount. Since there is no current light at the end of the tunnel as to when the courts will reopen, you may feel anxious about this decision. However, it can be problematic to extend the limited resources of the health care system.
*Data accurate as of 4/22/2020