As lockdowns lift across the country and capacity restrictions began to loosen, so does the increased exposure to COVID-19 liability claims. Keeping claims out of the courtroom will be critical to avoid the effects of social inflation. For jurors, there may be an element of fear attached to the current pandemic environment, which could sway them toward a plaintiff’s point of view.
Bracewell’s Vince Morgan acknowledged to Risk & Insurance that early claims are likely to be the costliest, because “there is no existing roadmap” for defense. Investing in experienced law firms that can secure early wins and help to define that roadmap will pay off over the long run.
“The courts have to make initial rulings, the medical and scientific testimony has to be developed,” Morgan said. “And while hiring experienced counsel might cost more, they are likely to be more efficient and able to achieve better outcomes. Insureds facing these claims also need to actively cooperate with defense counsel.”