If you suffered injuries related to a car accident, you may be in the middle of negotiations with an insurance company regarding a settlement offer for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Now, with the new COVID-19 virus impacting everyone in the United States, many people have been furloughed, laid off, or simply fired. In many cases, the reduction in hours or being laid off may have to do with the fact that certain businesses have been deemed “non-essential.”

With the lack of revenue and income, businesses simply had to shutter their doors either temporarily or permanently, and the employees feel the financial devastation as well as the owners. However, if you have a pending insurance settlement offer, you may be tempted to take what you know is a less than fair offer simply because you may be out of work due to these unprecedented times. Here are some answers to some commonly asked questions regarding insurance settlements in Louisiana in the era of a global pandemic.

With very real bills to pay, and the lack of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, should you consider settling for less than the full value of your insurance claim?

As with most legal questions, the answer is “it depends.” Only you know your financial situation, and how a settlement will impact your finances. Some people are faring quite well during this economic storm due to savings, or the ability to seamlessly work from home. Others have absolutely no income and children to feed. If you are facing a furlough, layoff, mandatory shutdown, or even being completely let go permanently from employment, you may need to simply take the offer that is on the table in order to pay for food and ensure that your family has its basic needs.

However, make sure to know that insurance companies are very aware of how desperate people are in this current economic climate. They have the financial ability to hold out longer than you, and they know that. If you are able at all to wait, the chances are you will likely obtain a higher settlement offer in the end. However, if you do not feel that you can financially afford to wait, know that most insurance companies have their adjusters working from home and can be easily reached by email or the phone. If you make the decision to settle, you will likely be able to receive your compensation through an online transfer to your bank.

How long do you have to make this decision?

The state of Louisiana has a very short time frame in order to file a claim in court regarding compensation for a car accident injury. A victim only has one year from the date of the accident to file a claim for any property damage or personal injuries. Therefore, if you think that it is getting close to this time frame, perhaps settling a claim with an insurance company is in your best interest if you do not want to go through the process of filing a lawsuit to receive compensation.

How long will a lawsuit for personal injury take in the state of Louisiana?

Again, the answer to this is that it depends on the way the global pandemic affects our nation moving forward. While many courts are currently closed, they may continue to stay that way or begin to reopen. It is likely safe to say that however long it would typically take for a personal injury case to resolve in the courts, it will take much longer as the courts will be inundated with a backlog of other cases. It is up to you to decide whether you want to file a claim to receive full compensation for your injuries and property damage.