For many clients in Chicago or the surrounding areas, the COVID-19 pandemic has created countless questions regarding their existing case. When are the courts going to open? Can my case continue to advance in the interim? How long is this going to take? Here is the good news: most cases will not be substantially delayed or affected by the pandemic closures.
The Coronavirus Impact on Claim Stage Cases
Claim stage cases are cases in which a lawsuit has not been filed. This means that the case is not pending in a court system, there are not hearing dates, and in most cases, no defense attorney has been assigned to the case. Claim stage cases include those where your treatment is ongoing, your attorneys are still ordering medical records and bills, or your attorney is working on settling your case with the insurance company out-of-court.
The great news is that claim stage cases are largely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kryder Law Group staff will continue to order medical records and bills and your attorneys will continue to pursue out-of-court settlements when possible. In most cases, the insurance adjusters assigned to your case are simply working from home and are still actively working files and settling cases.
The COVID-19 Impact on Litigation Cases
Cases that are in litigation are in a more unique position than those in claims because most courts are closed or operating on a limited, restricted basis. However, that does not mean that litigation files are simply on pause or in a holding pattern. In Cook County, judges are still hearing motions and advancing cases where possible. While most cases will not have hearings in Cook County until early 2021, there are numerous steps that can be taken to advance your case.
Written Discovery Can Be Completed During Court Closures
Once a lawsuit is filed on your case and the defendant(s) have been served and appeared in the action, the next step is written discovery. Discovery is an exchange of information between the respective sides in a lawsuit. In most cases, each side will send one another a list of written questions called interrogatories. Among other things, these questions ask about the accident, your medical treatment, medical history, and how you are doing today. Written discovery can absolutely be completed during court closures. Once written discovery is ready to proceed, a staff member or attorney will contact you to schedule a time to complete the written interrogatories. The interrogatory interview can be handled over the phone and signatures can be obtained digitally.
Depositions Can be Taken Via Video Conference
Once written discovery is complete on your case, the usual next step is for the parties involved to sit for depositions. A deposition is usually an in-person interview when the opposing counsel asks questions, among other things, about the accident, medical treatment, and how you are doing today. The deposition is taken under oath and is recorded by a court reporter. In recent months, many depositions have proceeded digitally via Zoom and other virtual conference software. If you have a laptop or tablet with a camera, your deposition should be able to proceed digitally. With courts closed for the foreseeable future, this is the best option to continue advancing your case.
Arbitrations and Trials Require Further Reopening of Courts
If depositions have already been completed on your case the next step would be an arbitration or trial. While Cook County has loosely proposed having arbitrations proceed via Zoom or other video conferencing software, the reality is that most arbitrations and trials will likely not proceed until 2021.
Cook County Lawsuits Are Not Completely Halted by COVID-19 Closures
While the Cook County Circuit Court largely is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your attorneys at The Kryder Law Group will take the necessary steps to continue advancing your case. If your case is in claims, and a lawsuit has not been filed, the pandemic will have little-to-no affect on your case’s progress. If a lawsuit has been filed on your claim and the file is in litigation, The Kryder Law Group, LLC. will take steps to advance your claim remotely through telephone interviews and remote deposition services.