Courts across the State of Illinois have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All civil cases have been continued for several weeks in an effort to enforce social distancing policies and reduce the impact of the virus. Importantly, all civil jury trials have been suspended for March and most of April. So what happens to your case when the Courts are closed and jury trials are suspended?
Our firm is working hard to ensure that your case continues to move forward in a timely fashion. Individuals and businesses need access to the Courts, and the ability to settle disputes has not declined because of the pandemic. Here’s what happens with the Courts closed:
Electronic Filing is Available
The statute of limitations in all civil cases has not been extended or suspended in Illinois. Lawsuits and other important motions can still be filed electronically. Illinois has a robust electronic filing system that allows us to file a lawsuit on your behalf from anywhere in the world. We are continuing to file lawsuits on behalf of individuals using this system.
We are also able to use electronic filing to file motions and conduct discovery.
Emergency Motions are Being Heard
If a pressing issue in a case arises, Judges are available to hear arguments on “Emergency Motions” on an as-needed basis. Using Emergency Motions, we can make sure that your case moves forward aggressively, that we secure key evidence and we are able to obtain necessary documentation, court rulings, or decisions that will impact your case.
Many Judges are hearing motions over the phone or through video conference, to ensure that, while the Courts are closed, access to justice is open to all.
Discovery is Ongoing
The discovery process, the process of obtaining evidence, witness statements, and documents, is still going forward. We are able to obtain key documents, statements, and evidence electronically and are using technology to help wherever possible.
In many cases, the discovery process has operated as it normally would with the Court being open. If any discovery disputes arise, lawyers are able to seek the assistance of the Court through emergency motions.
Video Depositions, Mediations, and Arbitrations Are Being Conducted
While jury trials are suspended, there are other means of getting your case moving forward, settled or decided by a judge. While our firm is practicing social distancing, we are able to use technology to meet virtually. This allows us to take depositions of key witnesses and obtain their testimony. We are also able to conduct settlement mediations by phone or video, and arbitrations are being held by phone or video where available.
Communication with Clients is Ongoing
Just because Courts are closed does not prevent us from meeting with new and existing clients. Video meetings are being implemented so that we can discuss your case privately, face to face. While we are working remotely, we are also available by phone and email to discuss your case.
Similarly, we can use DocuSign technology to allow new and existing clients to sign documents from their mobile devices and computers and email them back to our lawyers.
If you have been injured because of someone’s negligence or toxic pollution, don’t let social distancing and a global pandemic prevent you from preserving your rights. Our lawyers know how to leverage technology and communication to make sure that your rights are protected, your case moves forward, and you are in the best position possible to succeed with your claim. Call us at 630-527-1595 for a FREE CONSULTATION today.