Co-written by Raissa Galang
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on the community as a whole and the way in which governments, businesses and individuals operate. International and national borders have been closed, lockdowns imposed and personal freedoms have been encroached for the greater benefit of protecting the community.
Businesses have had to adapt and change their practices rapidly to accommodate the challenges posed by the pandemic in order to continue to operate and provide the services within the evolving space. Gajic Lawyers had been well placed to deal with these challenges and provide continued seamless service to our clients as our practice had already been geared for remote working, allowing us to continue manage our claims in a quick and cost effective manner whilst being COVID-19 compliant.
Gajic Lawyers have met the challenges presented by COVID by implementing the following measures:
- Technology – our technology has allowed our staff to work remotely from home since the onset of COVID-19 which has resulted in nil disruption to provision of our services to our clients.
- Video conferencing and teleconferencing – we have successfully implemented video conferencing and teleconferencing to maintain contact with our clients and provide an alternative means to communicate with our clients whilst maintaining social distancing.
- Medical appointments – our medical legal experts have agreed to accommodate our clients by conducting medical assessments via video conferencing to minimise delays in the progression of claims where possible.
- Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) medical assessments – DRS has a large backlog of claims awaiting medical assessments with a DRS Assessor as DRS had placed a hold on referring matters during the acute phase of the pandemic. This was a decision made by the DRS in consultation with medical assessors and the government for the protection of the community. DRS have since progressed the claims of clients by implementing new strategies, such as video appointments and examinations via Skye and Zoom. Gajic Lawyers have assisted our clients remotely with any technological issues and new methods such as setting up mock video conferencing with our clients in advance of their appointments and examinations, so as to ensure that our client is familiar with the video conferencing software and all technological issues are identified and addressed early.
- DRS Hearings and Court appearances – All DRS hearings are now conducted video conferencing which has minimised the need for travel and physical appearances. DRS has continually adapted to increasing the use of technology for their hearings and now even use Microsoft Teams software to conduct such. Similarly, Courts have also had to adapt to an online and remote set up in terms of hearing cases. The Courts had already moved to an online system of interlocutory hearings prior to COVID-19 so were well adapted for the increased technological demand brought by the pandemic. Although the lack of court appearances post COVID-19 became the norm for a while, the Court eventually allowed for hearings to be conducted via video conferencing which allowed claims to be heard in Court without any added delay. With less COVID-19 cases now than before, the Courts are slowly starting to introduce face to face hearings again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an evolving and challenging time. At Gajic Lawyers, we have implemented systems and adapted to the changes to ensure that we continue to provide a high level of service to our clients.