COVID-19 Legal Resources and Advice for North Carolina

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In this unprecedented time of COVID-19, Coolidge Law Firm wants to keep clients and friends informed of our operations as well as any relevant information. We place the health, safety, and welfare of our employees and clients as our top priority.

As we monitor direction from the CDC and consult with our state and local government officials, it has become clear that the current Coronavirus pandemic requires us all to act together to protect the safety of our entire community.

What We Are Doing

As a business that provides essential services, our offices remain open to serve our clients. To ensure safety, and to do our part to work towards flattening the curve, we employ extensive sanitation procedures within our office. We also offer virtual appointments for any client who does not feel safe leaving their home.

Important Information on Shelter in Place, Stimulus Check Scams, NC Courts Schedule, & More

The COVID-19 pandemic is an environment where new vulnerabilities are being felt for the first time each day, it seems. How can you protect yourself from potentially harmful activities and situations when you have never been faced with them before? What do certain terms relating to pandemic restrictions mean? To help you navigate these uncharted waters, we have compiled important information, including links to sources for more details.

Shelter in Place and Essential Businesses

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, very few of us knew the term “shelter in place.” Now, it is part of our daily vocabulary. But, what does it mean relative to businesses (and you)? Since state and local governments have instituted “shelter in place” orders for businesses, many people are asking for clarification on the definition of an “essential” and “non-essential” business. To give some overall guidance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Securities identifies fourteen different industry categories deemed essential, shown below. Businesses in Raleigh and North Carolina must identify if they qualify as essential or not, and we can help you determine if you can continue to keep your business open during this time. If you continue to operate your non-essential business you are risking being charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor criminal offense, by violating the order in place.

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Stimulus Check Scams

With the issuance of stimulus checks and, consequently, large amounts of money moving from “Point A” to “Points Everywhere”, successfully getting the money to those who need it isn’t always easy. There is ample opportunity for bad actors to come into play. Scams are rampant and you need to be aware of the ways you can fall prey to them, including tax fraud and identity theft. Furthermore, if you are a small business seeking a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, you must be clear on the loan use criteria to avoid misusing it. To ensure you mitigate the risk of misuse, and to avoid government investigations and potentially white collar charges, speak to an attorney today.

Pandemic Insurance Litigation Spreads

The purpose of insurance is to mitigate risk and provide a hedge against unexpected losses. When the risk can be spread across a large number of policyholders and when the risks are predictable, insurance functions properly. However, a pandemic creates an environment that is not predictable. Many businesses in Raleigh who are finding themselves shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic are filing insurance claims in the hopes of retrieving some help.

As a result, insurers are being faced with a virtual tsunami of claims relating to COVID-19 for businesses like restaurants and retail shops. How is the insurance industry responding to the multitude of claims? Well, there have been many policyholders that have already sued insurers due to breach of contract, failure to investigate, bad faith, and more. With chaos increasing in the insurance industry, there has also been a rise in health care insurance fraud. One scam that has recently emerged involves scammers attempting to get money in advance for medical supplies they don’t currently possess. If you are currently under investigation for insurance fraud, contact a criminal defense lawyer today.

N.C. Court Filings and Proceedings During COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 13, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued a new extension of filings and other court-related deadlines, as well as court proceedings in North Carolina, until June 1, 2020. This decision comes as the court system continues work to curtail operations in light of the growing exigent circumstances related to the spread of COVID-19. Refer to this N.C. Judicial Branch press release to see details.

Have You Been Charged for a Criminal Offense During COVID-19?

If you have been charged for a criminal offense in Wake County during the pandemic, you may not know what to do. Give us a call at (919) 239-8448! We can help guide you in this uncertain time!

Call Us If We Can Help

We realize each client will feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. Our attorneys and staff are prepared to help you navigate in this environment. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We wish for everyone to remain healthy and safe as we work through such a challenging time.

We are all in this together, and we will get through it together.

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