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Personal Injury Cases in the Covid Era

September 22, 2020

When Covid first broke in March 2020, Connecticut courts shut down and for a time nearly everything stopped. I have never seen anything like it since I started practicing in 1993. Courthouses were closed to the public and attorneys alike. Judicial employees were sent home. This was so notable because over the years courts have so rarely closed. Even after a major storm Connecticut courts might have closed for only a day, if at all. Usually when schools and city governments close the courts have stayed open. In the initial months after the pandemic broke, courts were closed except for criminal arraignments. As the months wore on courts started having pretrials through video conferences. But the most essential parts of the court system- jury trials and legal arguments on motions- stopped. As of this writing they are still stopped.

As we are now in late September, the courts are starting to inch their way open. I suspect that as we get into October and November, we'll see more court functions happening. The judges running the Judicial Branch have stated that they want the courts to open and to resume jury trials. It's a given that when they do resume jury trials that they'll look very different than they used to. Social distancing will need to be incorporated into the courthouses.

After Covid broke in March 2020, I heard from more than a few clients that they were worried to get medical treatment for their orthopedic injuries and risk exposing themselves to Covid. A few clients took a break from treatment during this time period. As time went on, most clients resumed their treatment and found that their orthopedic doctors were taking the necessary Covid precautions. Clients need to understand that for a lot of them they won't improve medically without treatment. Also, their legal case may suffer without treatment. Of course it is always the client's choice of where and when to get medical treatment.

Covid threw the world for a loop. The Connecticut court system largely found itself unprepared to function solely remotely. The Connecticut courts are slowly opening again. When they are fully functioning there will be changes, and Connecticut attorneys will adapt to them.

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