COVID’S IMPACT ON INVESTIGATIONS
As with most aspects of life, even the investigations of personal injury lawsuits have been impacted by the effects of the pandemic. The impact has been especially poignant in the areas of investigation involving the highest degree of personal contact.
Although the offices of Heiting & Irwin have remained operational since the State of Emergency declarations back in mid-March, new safety guidelines have been implemented to increase and protect the safety and welfare of our employees, clients, and other guests we host in our office. When we meet with a new client in the office to gather information from them needed to investigate and otherwise litigate their case, we have the benefit of social distancing, a facial covering/mask policy, and routine cleanings of the office space. We have also modified this intake procedure to be conducted over the phone for those clients who have expressed a preference to avoid the risks involved with face-to-face contact.
One of the most profound effects has been upon our ability to obtain traffic collision, a.k.a. police, reports following motor vehicle collisions. Whereas in the past, an in-person visit with the right documentation could yield a police report on the spot, many precincts have either been completely closed to the public or open by appointment only. Some law enforcement agencies are so behind on responding to written requests for information or evidence that the former response time of 14 days has ballooned into as much as 8 weeks.
Some aspects of investigation have improved due to the pandemic’s impact. Surprisingly, the response time for DMV title histories has remained the same, if not improved. And with more people out of work, people seem to be more accessible for taking recorded statements and serving them in-person with court papers.