Coronavirus and Injury Litigation
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating big problems for just about everyone. As a personal injury lawyer, I am thinking about you, my client. We all need to be prepared for cancelled medical appointments and more. Your physical therapy regimens are probably going to be suspended for weeks if not months. And, of course, there’s no pause button for your injuries or your pain. I will be suggesting alternative home-based therapy and more for clients who need it.
Here are some tips:
1. Contact your medical providers to confirm your existing appointments.
2. If your doctor or therapist postpones your appointment for the near future, request alternative home-based therapy programs. Try to get written instructions from your doctor and send me a copy.
3. If your cancelled appointment was for CT scans, MRIs, etc., be sure to reschedule as soon as possible. Document your symptoms in a journal, and ask your medical providers what you can do for your treatment while you wait for your rescheduled test.
4. If you are currently getting physical therapy, please speak to your doctor or therapist about an appropriate home therapy routine, something to tide you over until your regular therapy appointments resume. They should be preparing to distribute home exercise brochures.
5. If you are able to attend regularly scheduled appointments, please follow the well-publicized protective measures. Here is a link to one of the many helpful resources out there, as published by the World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public.
6. You may be able to get physical therapy using telecommunications. Ask your physical therapist if they are preparing to help patients remotely. They may have not even thought of this. Consider having pictures and videos taken of you while doing your therapy, using your heating pad, TENS unit, etc. Even 15-second clips might work. Then send me the photos and videos.
7. There are even apps for home therapy treatments. MeHab is an app for home therapy with tracking and reporting of exercises. It’s available for download on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Pretty perfect for the current situation. Here is the link.
If you decide not to use an app like MeHab, most cell phones have a Notes app. You can keep track of your progress in that app and e-mail your Notes to me from time to time.
8. You might need to purchase medical equipment. Do it soon to avoid delays and shortages.
9. Make sure you have a sufficient supply of pain medications, enough to last for several months at least. As always, be extra careful with opioids as they are extremely addictive.
Keep a diary of your symptoms, limitations, emotions, etc. Medical reports and physical therapy notes typically record these things. With office treatment suspended, your diary will replace this documentation. Make entries on at least a weekly basis.
10. Expect delays with your case. The courts are shutting down. The expectation is that missed deadlines will be excused. Plan for the settlement of your case to take a bit longer. Personal injury is already a marathon in many cases. That marathon may be about to get even longer.
11. There is technology to help avoid delays. For example, Zoom Video Conferencing is simple and generally flawless and permits the participation of all parties.
12. Don’t panic, prepare. Panic does no one good. Do the best you can during this difficult time and we will get through this together.