Like nearly every aspect of work and home life, legal processes have changed dramatically since the COVID-19 outbreak. At Luvera Law Firm, we’ve been working hard to adapt while ensuring we continue to support our clients through these challenging times.
Although the pandemic has paused much of our daily life, the civil legal system is still moving – attorneys are conducting discovery, depositions are being taken, motions are being filed and decided, and trial courts are attempting to resume jury trials with social distancing measures in effect. Most important, defendants and their lawyers are continuing to monitor plaintiffs’ online presence and conduct physical surveillance to discover evidence that can be used to attack plaintiffs’ case at trial.
With this in mind, we’re sharing our tips for smart, actionable steps that you can take to protect your legal case during the pandemic and into the future.
- Be conscious of what you post online: Although social media can be a great place to connect with friends and the world around you, remember that your posts can be used against you in a courtroom. Defense attorneys are monitoring social media and may use your posts – written content, photos or videos – against you in your case. Even something as innocent as a Tik Tok video can undermine your case and credibility. We recommend maintaining the same standard of conduct that we outline to all of our clients when they first retain us, including that you remain a selective sharer and always err on the side of caution before posting something publicly. Before you post anything on social media, ask yourself, would I want jurors to see this? Would it potentially affect the way they judge me and my injury claims? If the answer is yes, do not post. If you’re unsure of the answer, do not post unless you have consulted with your lawyer.
- Follow state and federal guidelines for social distancing: Following state and federal guidelines for COVID-19 social distancing, response and re-opening is important to your physical health, the health of others, and to the health of your case. Remember that private investigators are still being hired by defendants to surveil the activities of injured plaintiffs. If you are seen flagrantly disregarding these guidelines, it may make it harder to persuade a jury of the value of your case. Showing respect for your own health and that of others adds to your credibility and bolsters the impact of your claim.
- Follow the advice of your doctors: We understand that it can be difficult for those who have been injured to continue their care regimens, especially with the closure of nonurgent medical services in some areas. If you have a condition that can and should be treated, you should keep following the advice of your healthcare providers as much as possible. Make sure that you contact your provider to ask them about any alternatives to in-office visits, including home programs or virtual visits. Your healthcare provider will document the call and keep a record that you reached out to establish and continue your plan of care. This proactive outreach will demonstrate that you’re being responsible about following medical advice.
- Avoid political arguments: Whether during a global health crisis or on an average Monday, we always recommend that our clients avoid political arguments online, particularly when the discussion becomes heated or incendiary. Just like other content that is discoverable across your social media platforms, defense attorneys might try to find a way to use your highly charged comments against you during ongoing litigation, even if unrelated to your case. We understand and respect that our clients may have strongly held beliefs on important social and political issues, but advise they take a measured approach if they feel the need to express those in a public forum. Your lawyer can advise you if you have any questions about how to handle such issues.
- Keep in contact with your advocate: Communication between you and your lawyer about your case should not slow down or stop during the pandemic. At Luvera Law Firm, we contacted all our clients at the outset of our state’s COVID-19 response to let them know that we’re still operating and moving cases along while working remotely. We encourage our clients to reach out to us at any time with questions about their case, and to keep us apprised of events in their own lives. Whether it’s a change in health status or treatment, the loss of a loved one, or a change in employment or marital status, we care and want to know. This is an uncertain time for us all, but now, more than ever, we’re here as your advocates and allies.
Have more questions about how COVID-19 could impact your case? Wondering about additional actions you can take to protect your claim? Reach out to Luvera Law Firm today.