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COVID-19 and Postponed Cases: What to Do Next

In observance of state and federal social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, local courthouses have either closed or postponed hearings. Use this guide to help alleviate the uncertainty surrounding scheduled court proceedings.

Courthouse Closures

The inside of a courtroom, representing the personal injury cases of Leav & Steinberg LLP in New York, NY

Trying to navigate closures of any kind during the pandemic can be frustrating and confusing. To find out about the status of courthouses in the state of New York, call your local courthouse or attorney to learn which court appearances are continuing as scheduled. You should be able to locate your courthouse’s contact information by referencing your case documents.

Rescheduled Hearings

Calling or checking online is the most reliable way to get an update on the status of a hearing. Always start by checking if the courthouse is open, then consult your legal team. If your hearing has been postponed and you don’t appear in court, there may be severe consequences. For criminal cases, the judge may revoke your bail or a warrant for your arrest may be issued. Failing to appear for civil case proceedings can result in the judge dismissing a petition or granting a default judgment for the opposite party. If you have trouble figuring out if a hearing has been postponed, it’s best to arrive at court on the initially scheduled date. If a case has been postponed or rescheduled, the notice you receive from the court should include information about your case moving forward. If court closures impact the rescheduled hearing date, you can also contact the court clerk for confirmation about when you should appear in court.

Concerns About Testing Positive for COVID-19

If you’ve noticed that you’re displaying symptoms of the virus, seek medical attention. If a test confirms that you have contracted COVID-19, ask your doctor for a letter that recommends explicitly that you do not appear in court and present it to the judge and your legal counsel; your case may be postponed or rescheduled. If you aren’t well enough to communicate your illness to the judge, request that someone does so on your behalf. Follow up with the court clerk when possible to confirm that the judge and opposing party receive information that the hearing has been postponed or rescheduled.

Are you ready to pursue legal action but are unsure of how to proceed due to the pandemic? Leav & Steinberg LLP has over two decades of experience supporting our clients with quality legal representation and the results to show for it. Contact us today for a free consultation.