THE EFFECT OF COVID 19 RESTRICTIONS ON THE RIGHTS OF THOSE INJURED
We have been fighting for real clients with real injuries against real employers or real insurance companies. The legal system is still only partially open with very few cases being set for trial. Most justice is virtual and this is causing real difficulties for our clients.
In the past three months this lawyer has taken two depositions via Zoom. Doctors were cross examined on the computer. This lawyer has covered the Rockford status call for the firm’s cases. This lawyer has had four pretrials where the arbitrator discussed the case with the lawyers and attempted to get the employer to offer more and get us to take less in an effort to have the parties reach a compromise and avoid trial. These pre trials were done though Webex, which, like Zoom, allows parties to see each other and talk with each other even though they are not in the same room. This lawyer has also had four Social Security Disability hearings. These were held by telephone as there have been no in person hearings since early March.
These virtual hearings are not perfect but they are much better than doing nothing. Any way we can move our clients cases forward is good.
These are the baby steps towards a full slate of activities for a trial lawyer. It is unknown when more cases can be set for trials at the Workers’ Compensation Commission without special protocols for social distancing, mask wearing, limiting the number of people allowed in the building and in the room. When insurance companies deny our clients benefits we have always known that we can go to trial and fight for our clients. Taking trials away from a lawyer is like taking ammunition away from a soldier.
We will use whatever ammunition we have in fighting for our clients and are making sure those cases are ready for trial when we can get to trial. We are working from the office and from home. We are starting to return to union halls and are meeting clients via Zoom or at a reasonable distance at union halls or our conference room. We are starting to return to Rockford,, Quincy, Decatur, Mt. Vernon and all the towns across the State of Illinois where people, lift and work and need the services of a workers’ compensation lawyer If we still cannot get to your town we can set up a meeting via Zoom or we can talk on the phone or we can exchange e-mail. We are still working even if we are not sitting in the same room with you..
We are aware that Covid-19 is not just a roadblock to getting our clients cases to trial. It is a risk for the “essential workers” who have been going to work all through the pandemic. If you have contracted the virus and think it happened at work we can talk with you about your rights. You may have a legitimate claim under the Workers Occupational Diseases Act if you have Covid-19. This protection is not limited to front line workers like healthcare workers, nursing home staff and law enforcement. Workers at restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores and factories are also put at an increased risk of catching the virus even if they use masks or other protection.
If you think you have contracted Covid-19 at work give us a call. We will find a way to meet with you whether it is real or virtual. We can answer your questions and can fight for you with whatever ammunition we are allowed to use. One of the members of our team can help you and can give you answers.