Despite the fact that many courthouses across the country have shut down for at least part of the last year, thanks to the coronavirus, many have opened up, albeit at limited capacity. And in opening up, they are putting courthouse staff, plaintiffs, defendants, and lawyers at serious health risks.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court system is holding in-person hearings and trials, despite the fact that three employees have died of COVID-19 recently, and since last March, there have been 445 positive cases among the 5,100 employees of the court system.

This is far from the only example of COVID in courthouses: it’s happening in Pennsylvania and New York too.

The question is: why aren’t courthouses going entirely virtual?

The decision to do so is made by each court system, but even as a plaintiff or defendant in a case, it’s important to know your options to ensure your own health and safety.

Online dispute resolution could help courts

Online Dispute Resolution = Safer and Healthier Cases

Added to the exacerbation that the pandemic has caused all around is the fact that, because of the limited load a given courthouse can take, either in person or virtually, cases are being delayed months if not longer. For a plaintiff in a financial dispute, for example, that can put undue strain on an already stressful situation.

A better alternative is to opt for online dispute resolution, a safe and virtual option to resolve issues. There is no need to visit a courthouse and potentially be exposed to people with COVID. And you don’t have to wait to get your issue resolved.

Instead, you simply open a case online and submit your supporting documents. A judge will review both your side and that of the defendant within weeks, and you’ll get to an award faster than you ever could have by going through litigation. Not only that, but you’ll also stay healthy!

The legal system is standing on sand right now, and we trust that across the board, courthouses will start to make smarter choices about how they handle hearings and trials, with an eye on everyone’s health. But in the meantime, why not take matters into your own (thoroughly washed) hands?