Motor Vehicle Accidents During the Pandemic
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. If such an accident took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may feel all the more complex as rules have changed to accommodate for the safety and protection from coronavirus. In an unexpected scenario, as per a report by NSC (National Safety Council), it was observed that the number of car accident fatalities have increased by a whopping 14% in March 2020 when compared to March 2019.Reasons for a Rise in Accidents During the Pandemic
Although shelter-in-place requirements were issued all over the US owing to the COVID 19 pandemic, there are several factors that have contributed to a rise in accidents during the pandemic.
Speeding: One of the major reasons for the abnormal increase in motor vehicle accidents and the fatalities resulting from it are extremely high speeds of more than 100 MPH. Since traffic has reduced to almost half the original traffic, people are prone to over-speeding causing serious accidents. Records show that the average speeds during pandemic have risen by more than 250% in some parts of the US. As there are fewer vehicles on the road, motorists are under the false impression that they have the freedom to race which is a leading cause of fatalities.
Distractions: Most drivers are now habituated to spending time on their cell phone devices or adjusting the car stereo while driving which is diverting their attention from the road ahead. Moreover, the uncertainties and anxieties surrounding social distancing requirements could be causing a distraction resulting in drivers paying lesser attention while driving.
Risk Taking: As there are fewer cars on the road, more motorists are taking risks and not complying with the traffic rules. Such reckless driving and negligence are resulting in extremely uncontrollable high speeds where the driver is unable to react in time to any approaching vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles on the road.What Precautions Can Drivers Take for Road Safety?
Drivers need to refrain from reckless driving and obey all the traffic laws even if there are no vehicles on the road. They can also adopt measures such as using a safety belt while driving, not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, avoiding any distractions, and most importantly following all the traffic safety rules. Drivers need to remember that in spite of the onset of COVID-19 pandemic they still have a duty of safety towards other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians while sharing the road. Any negligence on the driver’s part to fulfill their duty may result in a fatal accident.What Can You Do if You Were Involved in Such an Accident During COVID-19?
COVID-19 has brought in some radical changes in our lives, and we have to deal with unexpected circumstances every day. In an unfortunate incident, if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident where you were a passenger, driver, or even a pedestrian having complete information beforehand can help ease out some of your stress. Dealing with accidents can be stressful and there is added trauma that you may face due to limited availability of resources. This may make the situation overwhelming as you may feel vulnerable and targeted. Hence, knowing all your options can help you handle the situation better.
Medical Treatment: It is important to know that medical providers classify as essential services and hence if you have been injured in an accident, emergency services are still open and you can still seek medical treatment for major injuries even though shelter in place orders have been set. Specialists, pharmacists, and dentists may revise their service procedures and postpone or limit any non-emergency services or routine appointments. Medical practitioners are offering virtual appointments through video calling to limit the exposure to their staff and keep patients safe. This is a great option if you are suffering minor injuries, mental health issues or are in need of physiotherapy.
It is important to understand that despite uncertain circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, your health should be your top priority and if you have been injured in any motor vehicle accident, it is imperative to contact a medical professional and receive treatment immediately.
Court Closures: Court practices and proceedings have also been altered due to the pandemic and different rules have been applied in each state. Courts are modifying their procedures for filing paperwork and operating through the pandemic restrictions. Some states are allowing videoconferencing for hearings, trials, and sworn statements to be conducted outside the court. The statute of limitations to file for a lawsuit is also being extended and if the individuals involved in the hearing display symptoms of COVID-19 they are requested to notify the court about such symptoms.How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?
If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by the negligence, or error on the part of another driver you are eligible to file for a claim. These compensations can cover the costs you have incurred for medical expenses, loss of wages, property damage, and non-financial costs such as pain, mental and emotional suffering. If you are at fault and your actions have resulted in an accident, it is critical to understand what are your responsibilities. As COVID-19 brings in new implications in terms of exchanging paperwork or receiving medical treatment, it is essential to contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer.
As the pandemic continues, there are bound to be ongoing changes and challenges that you may face while filing for claims or if you share the responsibility of an accident. Your attorney can guide you on the updated rules and keep you informed on any new developments. Insurance companies may not be co-operative and can deny claims if there have been any delays in filing paperwork. As a large number of people are affected by the changes in the court operations, a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can help you understand the process, negotiate settlements with insurance companies and protect your legal rights so that you can focus your attention on healing.
If you or your loved one have been involved in a car accident in the state of Massachusetts, contact the law office of Matthew Foti to get the best possible result for your personal injury case.