Living through COVID sucks.
Living through COVID in pain from a serious car accident sucks even more.
How are you going to see your doctors?
How are you going to get your medication?
How are you going to get to your physiotherapy appointment?
How are you going to communicate with your personal injury lawyer?
When will my case get to trial given that the Courts are closed?
How am I going to participate in a medico-legal assessment during a lock down?
All of these questions are not only valid, but they are also pressing questions which have caused personal injury clients across Ontario grave concern. And those concerns are justified given that we are dealing with unprecedented times.
There are no right answers. The only right answer is to do what’s best for you given your health, surroundings and the financial position which you are in.
Here is an interesting example:
Client needs to go to hospital for an important appointment which cannot be rescheduled and for which the client has been waiting for a very long time. But his/her only way of getting there is taking public transit or taking a taxi.
Does the client risk exposure and take transit or a taxi and attend at hospital thereby risking further exposure?
There are arguments to be made on both sides of the coin.
Here is a list of examples of how we have seen personal injury clients and service providers cope during the lockdown/pandemic:
- ADOPT TECHNOLOGY: This applies to accident victims and service providers alike. If you aren’t a techy sort of person, that has got to change or else you will be left behind. Videoconferencing is now one of the primary means for communicating during these difficult times. We are seeing doctors see patients on videoconference. We are seeing physiotherapists see patients for treatment. We are seeing lawyers and mediators use videoconferencing for meetings and mediations. The other primary means of communicating during the pandemic has been the use, or increased use of email. This was NOT uncommon for lawyers prior to the pandemic. BUT, many personal injury clients did not, and still do not have access to email. Your personal injury lawyer may find it difficult to communicate with you over the phone or by regular mail during these times. Email is far more efficient, fast and safe. If you don’t have an email account; by all means get one. They are FREE and will open up a whole new world of fast and easy communication. Unfortunately, for many people email is not an option on account of a lack of; or limited internet access. These people may have only had the ability to access the internet through the public library or another free service. There are no easy solutions to this problem during the pandemic because most, if not all public offices are closed due to COVID. This adaption and reliance on technology makes the use, familiarity and comfort using technology that much more important. Your PC, laptop, tablet or cell phone has become one of your only real gateways to connecting with other people. If you aren’t comfortable using these forms of technology, take a free course. The irony of getting familiar with technology by taking a free course offered online doesn’t escape me. But that’s the reality which we are dealing with. You can’t just go out of the house and sit through a course anymore.
- GET MEDICATION & OTHER REHAB GOODS DELIVERED: Need your pain meds prescription re-filled, but too nervous to leave the house or go to a potentially busy pharmacy? Don’t worry. Most pharmacies deliver! Most pharmacies have also boosted their prescription delivery services during the pandemic as well. Call in your refill and inquire about delivery options. The same principal which applies to the delivery of medication also applies to the delivery of anything else you need to make your life work. Many OTs and PSWs are delivering assistive devices (raised toilet seats, reach sticks etc.) during the pandemic. COVID may have slowed down the chain of supply, but it has not completely shut it down.
- DON’T SWEAT THE STUFF YOU CAN’T CONTROL: When the Courts re-open and get back to normal, you will have ZERO say in when your matter is heard. Your personal injury case will take a back seat to deal with the backlog of criminal, family and youth justice cases which are piling up. These case take precedent over personal injury cases and there is NOTHING you can do about it. Why do these case take priority? Justice and human rights (criminal and family law cases) trump money every time. Money can wait. But a person’s freedom (criminal law) along with the sanctity and stability of the family unit (family law); along with child custody and support hearings cannot wait. Once the Courts re-open, I expect to see a heavy focus and shifting of judicial resources to clear up the criminal and family law background before the backlog of personal injury cases (civil cases) are dealt with. It should be noted that there was already a backlog for personal injury claims to begin with. The pandemic certainly did not help in reducing that backlog. It wouldn’t surprise me either if they had night Court or weekend Court sessions to further reduce the delays which we will see. You can worry about this stuff like mad which would not be healthy. Or you can try to deal with this situation as best you can. It’s entirely out of your control.
- GET ACCUSTOM TO FEWER FACE TO FACE MEETINGS/INTERACTIONS:We have lots of “old school” clients or clients who prefer face to face interactions as oppose to dealing with people over email or the phone. Unfortunately, this has all changed and will continue to change in to the indefinite future. Clients, lawyers and service providers alike will need to quickly shift towards getting used to dealing with more emails, videoconferences and phone calls until COVID has been contained. Unfortunately, nobody knows when that will happen. So, for the time being, get used to dealing with people through the filter of a machine of some sort.