The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of the world as everyone works to navigate a new way of living. People have had to adjust how they work, attend school, and socialize.
The attorneys and staff of Marcus & Mack, PC, remain open for business and are diligently working on your case. We have unique technology platforms that enable us to work remotely while having full access to your file, our telephone system, and emails. We continue to file and pursue claims as usual, with some modifications necessitated by the Governor’s orders and court directives. Now more than ever, we remain available to help.
On March 16th, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared a statewide judicial emergency in which operations were to be limited to essential functions only. Unfortunately, this means if you are filing a new civil claim or have been in the process for a while, the way your personal injury case will be handled in the short term has changed.
In Pennsylvania, attorneys are allowed to continue in-person appearances in court when essential but are encouraged to carry out teleconference meetings with clients when possible. The use of advanced communication technology is encouraged by the President Judges, so long as those involved act within the social distancing guidelines. Any changes made are efforts to increase the safety of court officials and the public while maintaining social distancing practices.
Impact on Ongoing Personal Injury Cases
Live court proceedings, such as oral arguments, have been delayed unless it is deemed to be essential by the Court. All jury trials have been postponed or suspended. On April 28, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an Order extending the statewide judicial emergency until June 1, 2020, but gave President Judges in each county the discretion to begin restoring limited operations, while staying consistent with social distancing guidelines.
This means that many live proceedings for non-emergent issues that cannot be carried out using phone or video conferencing technologies are postponed for the time being. This includes depositions and certain aspects of discovery.
What This Means for New Personal Injury Cases
Depending upon each court’s technological capabilities, some civil filings can be filed electronically. For counties without this technology and which have closed their doors to the public, our office has been submitting filings through FedEx or UPS. The statute of limitations remains in effect during the pandemic, meaning that your case must still be filed prior to the deadline or it will be time barred, regardless of its merits. Additionally, it is imperative that the lawsuit be served on the defendants by the sheriff. While some sheriffs are not currently able to travel for this purpose, it is important that a plaintiff demonstrate continuing efforts to effectuate service, such as by having the lawsuit reinstated continuously until service can be made when restrictions are lifted. To know what this could mean for your case, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Contact Marcus & Mack Today
If you are looking to file a personal injury case or learn what the statewide judicial emergency could mean for your case, contact the experienced attorneys at Marcus & Mack. You must understand how COVID could impact your civil claim. Our lawyers are prepared to assist you in any way we can.