The Impact of COVID-19 on the Legal System and You
COVID-19 Legal Questions
The COVID-19 pandemic is a unique situation because we’ve never faced something like this in modern times. Our fast-paced world seemed to come to a halt overnight once the virus found its way onto U.S. soil, and the impact has been massive.
Not only have people lost their lives but it also brought about horrible economic consequences. Lockdowns in all 50 states meant people couldn’t go to work, school or anywhere that governors didn’t deem essential.
With so much upheaval in daily life, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious effect on the operation of the legal system. It almost ground to a stop and the way that lawyers did their jobs changed drastically.
If you have a legal matter of any kind occurring now or at any time during the pandemic, you may wonder how the changes will affect you. There are many questions that people have about the state of the legal field during COVID-19, and finding answers to these questions can help you feel more at ease about your situation.
What Is the General Impact of the Pandemic?
Legal firms and offices have been working virtually, no longer meeting people in person. In addition, courts are shut down except for essential matters, which means many cases are on hold.
Legal professionals continue doing many essential activities, such as creating documents, writing letters and briefs, and filing cases, when possible. However, they no longer know when cases will go to court. The typical rules for statutes of limitations and filing deadlines are in limbo. Due to the reduction in work, many law firms have reduced their staff, which may also have an impact on you since there may be fewer people available to handle cases.
If you have an essential matter, such as a child custody issue or a criminal law matter, then you can expect things to run fairly normally, but there will still be delays. These matters cannot wait, so courts are still operating on some level to handle them, but since the courts are working at a reduced level, it means things are moving slower than normal.
How Has the Pandemic Impacted Civil Cases?
Many civil cases are experiencing the biggest impact of delays and suspended court hearings because they are not essential cases that require immediate attention. Your attorney, in most situations, will still take your case and begin working on it, but you will probably not see your case go before the court very quickly.
What Should I Know About Immigration Law?
Immigration matters have seen an impact due to the closing of the borders and the closure of courts. Officials are turning away people seeking asylum at the border. Deportations and detention center actions have slowed significantly. Officials have rescheduled appointments and have given extensions and made exceptions for employment-based visas.
Is Employment Law Seeing a Surge of Cases?
The area of employment law has seen some increases in work as companies lay off or let go of employees. People have an increased need for assistance with unemployment matters, contract issues and standing up against government orders they feel are unconstitutional. Many small business owners have also had to seek legal help to try to keep their businesses open.
What Is Happening With Workers’ Compensation Cases?
Workers’ compensation law during Covid-19 has been up and down. As many people started staying home due to lockdown orders, caseloads dropped, but then there has been a rebound as workers start to seek help with concerns about returning to work. There are cases addressing the liability for contracting COVID-19 at work and some issues with employers providing PPE.
Is Real Estate Law Seeing a Drop in Cases?
Eviction holds at the local, state and federal levels have slowed down this area of law. This can make life as a landlord during Covid-19 difficult. However, as these expire, the caseload will pick up. The real estate market, in general, is seeing low interest rates, which creates a frenzy for buyers who see this as an excellent time to buy, so buyers and sellers still need legal assistance.
What Is Happening With Business Law?
Due to job and income loss, there are more people who need to seek bankruptcy protection, making lawyers who work on bankruptcies quite busy. Attorneys are doing intakes, filing paperwork and preparing cases. Courts are operating at some capacity, but most are not open to the public, which means things are moving along slowly.
Are Personal Injury Cases Still Going to Court?
Personal injury is an area of law that has been essentially on hold. These cases are not essential, so courts are pushing them to the back burner. This is making it difficult for attorneys who practice this area of law since they often work on a contingency basis and those who are sitting on cases waiting for delayed court dates. For many people, the fear of having to wait too long is pushing them to take out-of-court settlements more often than usual.
Will the Court Hear My Family Law Matter?
Family law has seen many essential matters still going to court, especially child custody matters. Other issues are on hold, but lawyers are still working on them diligently. There is an increase in the use of alternative dispute resolution options.
Is Now a Good Time To Create an Estate Plan?
Estate planning attorneys are seeing some delays in court, but people are flocking to make their estate plans. The devastation from the pandemic brought about a sense of urgency for people to get their affairs in order. Plus, with low interest rates, it is a great time to make some changes that can save money and help with bigger returns on retirement accounts.
How Is the Pandemic Affecting the Criminal Court System?
Criminal matters are often essential due to constitutional rules. To avoid civil rights violations and to prevent the dismissals of cases, some laws have seen changes and amendments to allow for case suspensions and longer time limits.
Due to overcrowding in jails and prisons and the risk of COVID-19 spread, many areas have released inmates who are in for non-violent crimes, have release dates coming up or are in bad health. There have also been fewer arrests for non-violent crimes and warrants often result in a request to show for court instead of an arrest.
Some areas have suspended trials, but bond hearings are still occurring with courts trying to let people out on bond instead of sending them to jail. Those who bond out may see longer delays in their cases as courts prioritize the cases of those still incarcerated.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
If you have a legal issue or question during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should still seek legal help. Most lawyers are still working and can prepare your case. Some cases will still make it to court without delays. To avoid issues, you should still prioritize getting an attorney working for you instead of waiting for conditions to change. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!