We are living in unprecedented times. Amidst the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, much of the world has come to a standstill. And yet, people are still getting injured at work, at home and elsewhere every day. When they do, they are often confused about what steps to take next in this chaotic and confusing time.
For example, one question we here at Enjuris have been wondering is: Are law firms considered essential businesses?
To get to the bottom of this question and more — and to help better understand how coronavirus shutdowns are impacting the legal sector and injury plaintiffs in various states — we asked each of our Enjuris Premier Attorney Members a few questions about how their team and their clients are coping during the pandemic.
Here’s what Georgia workplace injury lawyer Ben Gerber of Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys had to say.
Q: Are law firms and legal services considered “essential businesses” in Georgia?
A: Georgia law allows for legal services to continue to operate during the governor’s stay at home order. The order lists a number of businesses that must close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These businesses include bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, theaters, live performance venues, dine-in restaurants and social clubs.
The services we provide ensure that our clients continue to receive weekly indemnity benefits and medical treatment. These are thankfully considered essential and allow our clients to survive during this crisis.
A: We are continuing to operate as normal during this crisis.
That being said, we have taken many precautions to ensure both the safety of our staff and attorneys, and also our clients’ wellbeing. Our staff and attorneys are all working remotely. Our system was set up to handle working from different locations before the pandemic, so nothing has changed in that respect. Our phone system is voice-over-internet, so we don’t have to be in the office to handle calls. We are more than equipped to perform video conferencing with clients, and we’ve performed both depositions and mediations doing the same.
We do have a staff member who goes into the office every day to check the mail and ensure that clients are receiving checks. For the past 3 years, we have operated paperlessly so all documents exist on the cloud and we can be fully operational during this shutdown.
Q: What top concerns and questions do your clients have right now regarding their case?
A: The main question that our clients have during this time is: Will I continue to receive my workers’ compensation check during this period?
The simple answer is yes. If you are presently getting a check, that should continue.
The second most asked question is if their doctor's appointment will still go forward. This answer varies based on the specific doctor’s office. Some doctors are only doing telemedicine, while others are doing inpatient visits if the injured worker is healthy.
It’s important to contact your attorney before you attend any doctor appointment.
Q: What would you like prospective clients to know during this crisis?
A: Workers’ compensation can provide income to injured workers’ during this crisis. If an individual was hurt before or during this crisis, they may be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits. These benefits can be obtained in conjunction with both unemployment and the federal funds that the government is giving each individual.
Getting hurt on the job doesn’t have to mean total devastation during this crisis.
Q: What’s the best way for people to reach you during this time?
A: The best way to reach us during the crisis is by calling or emailing our office. You can also reach out to us via our Enjuris profile page.