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If you have recently tried to seek general medical care, you may have encountered some delays and other changes to your access to physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, optometrists, dentists, and many others, as providers struggle to provide care while complying with various public health restrictions imposed in their areas.  In addition to reducing available appointments, refusing new patients, and switching to telemedicine, some offices have even undergone outright closures.  Additionally, in an effort to reduce their own exposure to disease and the public, patients themselves have elected to defer treatment for these types of ailments.

For those unfortunate people who have been seriously injured, burned, or disfigured, due to the carelessness or negligence of others, the choice between medical care and isolation is very difficult:  often, the pain and suffering these folks are experiencing is excruciating, and a delay in prompt medical care can set their recovery back months, or result in new, more dire consequences such as infection or blood clots.

In addition to the medical considerations are legal considerations.  For anyone with an active negligence lawsuit or insurance claim, a patient’s choice to delay care can be used against them.  Although most people, as human beings, are currently very understanding of the impacts of the coronavirus on “normal life”, it does not mean the insurance company will not argue that a plaintiff failed to mitigate damages, or experienced a complete recovery prior to the gap in care.  Additionally, it is entirely possible that future jurors look at auto accident injuries with even more than the usual skepticism and cynicism since, after all, people are dying right now.

The swell of emotions that humanizes us all right now will be a distant memory when it times to resolve most current cases.  Fairly or not, personal injury victims might pay a big price in the future, and will now have to juggle priorities between medical, health, mental well-being, and legal rights.

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