Here we are in late summer of 2021. Most of us hoped and prayed that the virus would be behind us by now. Here in the midwest, we didn’t initially see the huge number of cases that other parts of the country did -– now here we are.
However, back in 2020 and into early 2021, when people were staying indoors and businesses were on lockdown, fewer people were driving and fewer medical procedures were happening. One small silver lining to the lockdowns was that fewer people were getting injured, so fewer people were reaching out to get legal help.
But some people still got hurt. There were still claims from before the pandemic. Law offices like ours were doing everything under the sun to keep people safe while still pursuing justice.
A Brief Glimpse into the World of JVM During the Pandemic
The first time around, some people did not wish to leave their homes. We did whatever we could to keep lines of communication open. Like many of you all, we set up phone consults, Zoom (internet video) consults, we even sent attorneys to visit in public spaces or hospitals by request of the injured person.
In our office, we wore masks when required. We met in our parking lot and used a drop off service for deliveries and document exchanges. We had staff who needed to work from home to care for their loved ones and little ones. We adapted.
Our team was committed to keeping JVM’s doors open, because we know that injured people or people who have lost a loved one — they need us. Even during a pandemic and, especially in hard financial times like these, people need to know they are not alone. They need to know that their team is still here aggressively fighting for their rights.
The Impact on the Court System
Unfortunately, the virus did manage to shut the courts down for nearly a year in most areas. Jury trials that were already backlogged got pushed off until the summer, when it was deemed safer to gather.
As courts allowed, JVM kept pushing for jury trials. After being told that picking a jury in a smaller courtroom would mean a delay for our clients, we got creative. We tried several cases in The Bass Pro Convention Center. We selected a jury in a community center. We used all available large public spaces to keep pushing ahead. Our firm offered to pay for alternative locations if the county couldn’t afford to conduct business outside the courthouse.
Even still, we continued to run into hurdles caused by the pandemic. When expert witnesses would not fly in, instead of pushing jury trials off, we had as many as 19 witnesses at a trial by remote video conference. When we knew there could be trouble with older courtroom and internet connection and tech – we brought our own – and a backup.
We wore face masks when required, we made sure witnesses didn’t have to handle exhibits if they were concerned about physical touch – we adapted and aggressively pushed to get our clients their day in court.
During one 10-week period when courts were back open, our firm tried 6 jury trials and 2 bench trials.
We did not turn down any chance to get into the courtroom and pursue justice for our clients.
The Road Ahead
We hope and pray that this pandemic is winding down. But with variant after variant, it seems that may not happen soon. We want everyone to know that regardless of what happens in the world, we will be here pushing aggressively to get your day in court.
If the insurance company or defendant drivers do not pay fair value, they will see JVM in court. Negligent medical staff will see JVM in court. They may see us in a face covering, or in an out-of-the-way community center, or even by video — but they will see us in court.
No pandemic will stop us. If the courts are open, JVM will be there seeking justice.