By: David B. Lever
The Covid-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, an enormous impact on all of our lives. Navigating these challenging times from a health, well-being and financial standpoint has been a struggle for everyone, including those who have unfortunately suffered personal injuries following an accident and are facing substantial difficulties in their efforts to receive the medical care, elective surgeries or therapy they need to recover and feel better.
For those who have experienced an accident during this time, whether, for example, a motor vehicle collision or an on-the-job accident, or are attempting to recover from one that occurred before the pandemic, it is understandably alarming and discomforting if you are unable or afraid to see a doctor or other caregiver in person due to risks associated with the coronavirus. It can be particularly upsetting if the incident which caused your injuries was due to another person’s negligence and through no fault of your own you find yourself facing the prospect of bringing a lawsuit for your injuries and damages.
We have outlined the following three recommendations on how to proceed if you are in this situation and looking for guidance:
1. Utilize Tele-Med Visits Whenever Available
Medical care options have quickly evolved during this crisis and most doctors are now performing virtual visits. While obviously not the same as an in-office physical examination, being “seen” online by a medical provider is the next best option until in-person office visits become readily available again. Through these virtual appointments, patients can receive a virtual diagnosis, and when appropriate, prescriptions for medication, referrals for in-office examinations or surgeries when urgently needed, and instructions for in-home therapies. Fear of Covid-19 has unfortunately caused many people to ignore urgent and otherwise concerning medical needs. If you are suffering and in pain, we strongly recommend contacting a doctor or other health provider to obtain the help you need for your accident-related injuries.
2. Prioritize Your Mental Health
The cancellation of necessary surgeries during Covid-19, on the basis that many surgeries are deemed “non-essential” and prohibited in certain locations, can unfortunately have an impact not just on your physical health but also on your overall well-being. The inability to obtain treatment, which is intended to help heal, rehabilitate or limit pain, can also lead to setbacks in physical and emotional health, drug dependency, and overall well-being. Any or all of these factors can prevent or limit your ability to re-enter the workforce or engage in other important daily activities and can have a substantial negative impact on your entire family.
Please keep in mind that even if you cannot receive the medical attention you need right now, it is imperative that you focus on your mental health. This could include seeking professional help from a trained therapist via virtual or phone sessions, but if you do not have the financial means for this, speaking with close friends and family who are able to give you the support you need can prove very helpful. The goal of course is to do everything possible to get healthy and find happiness during what is as challenging a time as many of us have ever experienced.
3. Organize Your Medical Documentation
If you believe that there is merit to bringing a personal injury lawsuit, in addition to consulting with an experienced accident attorney, having your medical issues documented during this time will be critical to your case. Without medical documentation to substantiate your current complaints, insurance companies and corporate defendants will argue that your injuries are not serious or significant. Given the challenges in seeing a doctor these days, a scenario could result whereby you would encounter greater difficulty establishing the full extent of your pain and suffering if your complaints were not medically recorded. Thus, proper medical treatment and documentation is vitally important not only to give you the best chance to feel better, but also for your personal injury lawyer when seeking to obtain maximum justice for your injuries and damages from an insurance company or jury.
Medical documentation to prove a case has always been important, and sensible precautions being taken by accident victims and their medical providers during Covid-19 will not only ensure your health and well-being, but also allow for you to establish the true nature of what you may be going through right now. Without medical documentation, a case is much less likely to succeed; it is essential to be diligent about it now to avoid severely impacting your case.
The reality today is that many accident victims are unable to obtain proper medical care right now, creating greater challenges towards returning to normal health and proving the full extent of one’s pain and suffering following a serious accident. As states slowly begin to lift the Covid-19 restrictions, the ability to receive healthcare that has been barred or limited during this time will ease. We encourage you to be your own best advocate during this difficult time in order to give yourself the best chance to stay safe and recover from your accident-related injuries until the time comes when you feel comfortable seeing a doctor in person again. Lastly, stay strong and never give up hope that better days are ahead for you, your families and all of us collectively.
In compliance with the applicable requirements and guidelines, Lever & Ecker is operating remotely, though at full capacity, with complete access to all systems and available at all times to anyone who has had an accident or otherwise has any questions regarding their legal rights. We are continuing to work diligently on behalf of our clients and the community, including those in need of new and ongoing legal assistance during this time. We are here for you, and wish you and your loved ones good health and safety always.
David B. Lever, Esq. is a partner at Lever & Ecker, PLLC in White Plains, NY. He has spent his entire career representing clients in a wide variety of personal injury cases, including automobile collisions, slip/trip and fall accidents, nursing home negligence, among others. Please contact him at (914) 288-9191 or [email protected] for more information.