The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of life for Austin residents, including access to non-emergency medical care. Health care providers and facilities have limited their services in order to halt the spread of the virus and reserve medical equipment for COVID-19 patients and their providers. On March 22, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting “all surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary” until April 22.
These protective measures, and the general uncertainty of the times, can leave injured people wondering how to proceed with a time-sensitive personal injury case. The first step in any personal injury case is to seek medical treatment to begin documenting your symptoms. But what does that look like right now, and how can you receive adequate treatment for your injury without risking exposure to the virus?
Get Acquainted with Your Health Care Providers’ COVID-19 Policies
In addition to life-saving procedures, the executive order allows procedures that would prevent “adverse medical consequences.” If your injury is serious, you are unlikely to run into red tape that would prevent you from receiving care, and the decision to undergo a procedure may be left to you and your provider(s). However, many patients are understandably hesitant to visit a doctor’s office or emergency room for fear of being exposed to the virus.
It’s important to make an informed judgment about the consequences of delaying versus going through with the procedure. Familiarize yourself with your health care providers’ policies to make sure they are taking steps to protect their patients, such as cleaning facilities more thoroughly and frequently, staggering appointments, promoting rigorous personal hygiene, and educating staff about these measures as everyone adapts to the situation.
Take Advantage of Telemedicine Services
A number of Austin health care providers already had some degree of telemedicine structure in place before COVID-19, but many have expanded those services in recent weeks in order to protect their patients and their practices. It should not be difficult to obtain a video chat or phone evaluation even for acute injuries, as well as prescriptions and instructions for at-home physical therapy if required.
Telemedicine works just as well for creating a record of your injuries, and it is safer than going out in public, especially for individuals with a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Even if you suspect that you will ultimately need to visit a health care provider in person, performing the initial evaluation remotely could decrease your risk of contracting the virus.
Consult with an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer
Life goes on even during a pandemic, and there is nothing to stop you from filing a personal injury claim. In fact, it’s important to act swiftly to preserve your case and get far ahead of the two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims.
In addition to treating your injuries, the best way to protect your case is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will confirm that you are receiving quality medical care, communicate with insurance providers on your behalf, and build a case to prove the legal liability of the at-fault party. They will make sure you are in the best position to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses, both economic and non-economic.
At FVF, our Austin personal injury lawyers are adapting to the COVID-19 crisis and continuing to offer our clients vital support, resources, and advocacy while respecting social distancing. As always, we offer free consultations without requiring any commitment, and we are happy to educate you on your legal rights and options. Daily routines and communication methods may look slightly different while we strive to keep our staff and clients safe, but we are ready to fight for the financial recovery you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free, remote consultation.