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What Will Happen to My Accident Case During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

April 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely altered everyday life in New York City, as well as the rest of the state. Not only has the Governor issued a stay-at-home order, but he has also closed non-essential businesses. Many people are rightly worried about what will happen to their legal cases during this time.

Fortunately, Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman remains open as an essential business. We will continue to work on our clients’ behalf even as we practice social distancing. Many of our clients will notice no disruption to their cases, though others might experience delays.

The Courts are Closed

New York has shut down its courts to the public. This means that no case will go to trial before the pandemic comes to a close. Other pre-trial hearings, case hearings, and dispositive motions are also being delayed until the conclusion of the pandemic.

Of course, this does not mean a person’s case is stalled or that they will forfeit their ability to sue later. Instead, it means that it is ever more vital to meet with an attorney to review your case. When the courts re-open, a prepared client can hit the ground running.

New York’s Statutes of Limitations are Suspended

An accident victim has only so much time to bring a lawsuit after suffering injuries. The amount of time is found in the relevant statute of limitations. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you have three years to bring a suit. Wait even a day too long, and you lose out on the ability to sue.

Because the state has closed its courts, many people are worried they will lose out on their ability to sue. Not so. On March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 202.8, which temporarily suspended the statute of limitations until April 19, 2020. The Governor then issued another Executive Order extending these provisions until May 7, 2020. The cumulative effect is that victims have more time to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations bars it.

Nevertheless, meet with a lawyer if you have not yet done so. The suspension will not be indefinite, and you might need to file a lawsuit quickly after the courts open back up. These Executive Orders have bought injured victims some time, but not much.

We Can Continue to Work on Your Case

Very few cases go to trial in any event. Instead, our lawyers can negotiate a settlement, and we can continue to do so even during the shutdown. Many insurers remain open as well, and these are the entities we negotiate with. We can continue to negotiate with them via letters and over the phone.

We can also continue gathering facts about the case. We can request documents from the other side, review police and accident reports, and develop our case strategy. None of this activity has stopped because of the pandemic.

Contact One of Our New York City Attorneys for Help

Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman remains committed to the well-being of our clients. Please call 212-285-3300 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.


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