As the longest government shutdown in our country’s history continues to stretch indefinitely on, its impact will be felt by more and more Americans.
Currently, more than 800,000 government employees are getting ready to miss their second paycheck. But the consequences stretch beyond government employees. Are you one of the people affected? Here are some ways you could be impacted.
One of the first items people think about is whether their critical benefits will continue.
Disability checks, along with Social Security checks, will continue to be mailed despite the shutdown. However, with so many government officials furloughed, fewer government resources are available, so it could be difficult to get questions answered and lines at local offices may be longer than usual.
However, if you are applying for benefits, you may have cause for concern. Benefit verification will cease until the government gets back to work
Veterans can breathe a sigh of relief. Veterans Affairs disability and retirement checks are expected to go out on time. This includes survivor benefits. The U.S. Postal Service remains funded, as well, meaning the checks have a way of making it to your mailbox.
Do you have a current personal injury case?
If so, you will feel the pinch to varying degrees depending on where in the claim or lawsuit process your case is currently sitting.
If your crash, wrongful death or personal injury accident just occurred, then you have our sympathy for this difficult time. But the government shutdown likely will not add to your worries and concerns.
Continue keeping track of your medical symptoms and visits. If you were seriously injured, consider speaking with Bedford Attorney Brad Parker of Parker Law Firm. If you sustained minor injuries, download information on handling your insurance claim yourself.
However, if your case has moved to the trial portion, you may feel more of an impact if your case is in a federal court. This is because nonessential federal court employees start furlough 10 days into the shutdown, a milestone we’ve already passed. Cases will still move forward, but potentially at an even slower pace than usual. Since it is common for a personal injury case to take up to roughly two years already, that’s saying something.
Safety is a concern that will continue to become more problematic the more this mess continues.
The shutdown has caused the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pause some programs, such as the departments that create traffic standards and enforce vehicle safety. Recall information may not be shared in a timely manner. Missing crucial safety information can be the difference between knowing your car has an issue and being in a crash because you were unaware.
Currently, the Federal Highway Safety Administration continues to function, according to the Washington Post. This track because jobs related to public safety have funding for multiple years.
However, road projects may suffer a delay if the Federal Transit Administration is forced to suspend funding. Road projects in disrepair represent a safety issue, and drivers need to vigilantly watch for these road hazards. Do not count on all the projects remaining staffed or for the signage to be visible. Pursuing a case against the government is not easy in the best of times, but accidents victims still deserve compensation if someone is injured at a half-empty work site.
Some private companies are stepping up to help keep our roadways clean and in repair. But it is unclear who will be responsible if someone hurts themselves pitching in to clean up litter or repair a road during the shutdown.
The good news is that services like police, fire, and ambulances continue to operate, so if you have a car crash in the Mid-Cities area or anywhere, don’t hesitate to call 911.
When will it end?
That’s the big unknown. But if you have questions, give Parker Law Firm a call at 817-503-9200. We are happy to sit down and talk to you about how the shutdown will impact you or your case.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.