Temporary Law Changes, Settlements Continue During COVID-19 Crisis
We hope this article finds you and your family well during this worldwide health crisis. Even though life as we know it has changed significantly, Langsam Law’s entire legal team continues to march on, working remotely to keep our existing cases moving forward and take on new ones. In fact, we have secured a significant number of settlements in the week since our physical offices closed.
New York has also made some temporary changes to the law to ensure that civil matters can proceed even though jury trials have been suspended. At Langsam Law, the vast majority of our time is spent not in the courts, but preparing cases, many of which we settle out of court. This email will inform you about some of the changes that have been made to New York law and how they may impact you.
- Remote notarizations are now allowed. On March 19, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order that allows documents to be notarized by remote videoconferencing, pursuant to certain rules. All of the Langsam Law team members are notary publics. This means that we can continue to process and settle cases that require witnessing and authenticating signatures to execute documents related to our cases.
- Statute of limitations for filing lawsuits has been extended. Under normal circumstances, for personal injury cases, a summons and complaint must be filed within three years, or one year and 90 days in the case of lawsuits against municipalities. This statute of limitations has now been extended by 30 days. This extension would also apply to the Child Victims Act, which removed all statutes of limitations for sexual abuse claims for a year window, bringing the filing deadline to September 12, 2020. It’s important to stress, however, that case preparation should begin as soon as possible, and this can be done remotely via Zoom videoconferencing with Langsam Law. Contact us for a free consultation if you have any questions.
- Notice of claims should still be proceeded with as soon as possible. A notice of claim is not the same as filing a lawsuit, and in negligence cases against municipalities there is a short 90-day window to file a notice of claim. It is unclear whether the 30-day extension to filing a summons and complaint would also apply to a notice of claim, so we recommend getting these started as soon as possible. Even if they can’t be filed with the court, you will have a dated, notarized document and a paper trail.
- Settlements continue. In negligence cases, settlement discussions can proceed without any action, and we often try to settle a case before any legal action is started and also while a lawsuit is pending. We begin by doing our due diligence, researching the situation, and contacting interested parties to build a strong, solid case. Many entities are compelled to settle rather than spend the time and money it takes to go to court, not to mention the possibility of sullying of their business reputation with bad press. Langsam Law can pursue a fair settlement for medical care, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, and has settled a number of cases in the past week alone.
While our day-to-day lives have changed significantly, accidents still happen. We are at the ready to evaluate new cases while we continue to move existing ones forward. If you would like to discuss a possible personal injury case, this is an excellent time to proceed. Once the civil courts re-open, claims are certain to abound, so getting started as soon as possible is more important now than ever.