Many of us expected that car accidents would decrease during the coronavirus pandemic. After all, we have all witnessed empty streets, even in areas that once had heavy traffic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic volume decreased by 16% during the first half of 2020. With so many drivers staying off the road, we expect that the number of car accidents would decrease. On the contrary, car accidents have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
Reckless Driving Has Increased During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The NHTSA determined that many of the drivers who have become seriously injured in car accidents during the coronavirus pandemic engaged in risky behavior at the time of the crash. Risky behavior includes speeding, driving while intoxicated, and not using seat belts. Drivers were more likely to take opioids, cannabinoids, and drive under the influence of alcohol during the second quarter of 2020 than they had before the pandemic.
A study conducted in France found that when their lockdown began, excessive speeding increased by 12%. They found a correlation between excessive speeding and an alarming increase in deaths in car accidents. Experts suggest that people who are tired of being cooped up inside due to the shutdown orders want to feel a sense of liberation by speeding through the empty streets.
Car Accident Fatalities Have Increased
Shockingly, car accident fatality rates increased by 30% during the second quarter of 2020. The recent increase in death reversed a three-year trend of decreasing road deaths in the United States. The NHTSA has stated that it believes the pandemic-related shutdowns have pushed people toward reckless and risky driving. The agency has also noted that there is a lack of road safety messaging during the pandemic.
Many Americans are facing significant financial stress after losing their jobs or seeing their work hours decreased. There is also more idle time and increased consumption of drugs and alcohol. These factors combine to increase the likelihood of stunt driving and speeding, leading to more accidents.
What to Do if You are Injured in a Car Accident During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Becoming injured in a car accident is always challenging. However, becoming injured in a car accident during the coronavirus pandemic adds a new layer of complications. Many Americans struggle to make ends meet financially. Suffering a severe accident can jeopardize your family’s financial future. If you have been injured in a car accident during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be feeling a sense of desperation and stress. You are likely wondering how you will be able to pay your mounting medical bills when you cannot return to work during your recovery. We will discuss a few tips to help you navigate being injured in a car accident during the coronavirus pandemic.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
After months of social distancing and hearing about coronavirus spreading through hospitals, many of us are wary of seeking medical attention. Additionally, many hospitals are over their capacities and caution people to stay home unless they have a serious emergency. Many hospitals are deprioritizing and postponing non-emergency care to treat coronavirus cases and prepare for coronavirus surges. These conditions can make it difficult for people to choose to go to the hospital, even when they need emergency medical treatment.
Even with all of these extra precautions, you must seek emergency medical care if you need it after your car accident. Even if you think your injuries are moderate, we recommend undergoing a complete medical examination. If you were not seriously injured, you may want to call your doctor and ask for his or her recommendation on where you should seek treatment. In some cases, scheduling an appointment with your routine physician is the best option.
Whatever method you choose to seek medical care, it is essential to start your medical treatment as soon as possible after your car accident. Whether you file an insurance claim or pursue a personal injury lawsuit, it will benefit your case to show that you followed up with medical treatment immediately. Insurance companies often deny claims, stating that the car accident did not cause the victim’s injuries since the victim did not seek medical attention until much later. Or, the defense lawyer may argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim them to be because you did not reach out to your doctor.
Be Prepared for Delays
Navigating the insurance process is challenging during normal circumstances. Some insurance companies are notorious for putting off claims until the last minute or failing to contact victims promptly. The coronavirus pandemic has taken the usual delays and increased them significantly. Many companies are short-staffed and unable to process insurance claims as quickly as they previously did. Companies are also allowing employees to work from home, which can cause delays. Likewise, courts are not yet fully functional, and many courts give precedence to emergency cases, such as child custody matters.
Whether you plan on filing an insurance claim to recover compensation for your injuries or you plan on submitting a personal injury lawsuit, you should expect delays. Insurance companies claim processing timeframes will be stretched out, and you will likely experience continuances should you file a personal injury lawsuit in court. However, just because the process is slower does not mean you should accept a settlement offer that is too low. Insurance companies are taking advantage of people’s financial needs to pressure them into accepting unfair settlement offers. It is worth taking the time to wait for a settlement that provides you with the fair value of your losses.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
After seeking medical treatment, we recommend speaking with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will advise you as to your legal options and help you navigate the process of filing a claim during the coronavirus pandemic. Contact the Law Offices of Jason Lutzky today to schedule your free initial consultation.