Covid Delays Trial for Terminally Sick

Amid the pandemic, California courts are failing to provide some terminally ill plaintiffs their right to an expedited trial, violating state law.

Terminally ill plaintiffs, who were supposed to be guaranteed expedited trials in light of their deteriorating medical conditions, are still waiting for their day in court, according to an NBC Bay Area investigation.

Those who are dying are supposed to be granted preferential treatment when it comes to scheduling their trials. That’s the law in California, but COVID-related closures have crippled state courts. The pandemic has resulted in a backlog of cases and has left some courts unable to assemble the juries needed to conduct trials. Throughout the Bay Area’s nine counties, civil jury trials have yet to resume in San Mateo, Marin, Napa, and Sonoma counties.

In most of the country, [legal payout from “pain and suffering” damages] goes to the family if a plaintiff passes away before the end of the trial. However, in 11 states — including California — once the plaintiff dies, the pain and suffering claim dies, too, according to an analysis by LegalResearch.com. As a result, families would no longer be eligible to collect any monetary award related to pain and suffering.

“The loss of pain and suffering claims when mesothelioma victims die and the failure to get their day in court because of COVID are injustices that the courts and General Assembly in California must remedy,” said Peter Kraus, a founding partner at Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel.

View the original article posted by NBC Bay Area.

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