By Dale Gribow
Our office focuses on representing clients for Accidents, DUI’s and suing Drunk Driving Drivers who injure our clients. It is important to note that a PI case could settle at any point, and this outline is simply a brief plaintiff overview, illustrating the beginning and ending of a case… should settlement not be reached.
- INTAKE: After being retained, we collect the medical records at the conclusion of treatment. However, it is important you provide your lawyer with new symptoms and new medical providers.
In an attempt to settle, we prepare a settlement demand to defendant’s insurance company. If no settlement is reached, or before the two year Statute of Limitations from the date of the accident has passed, a lawsuit (Summons and Complaint) is filed with the Court to protect our client’s legal rights.
- THE LAWSUIT: After the defendant is served, he/she has 30 days to file an Answer. All parties exchange discovery in the form of Interrogatories (written questions), Request for Documents, Depositions and Request for Admissions. The defendant may also schedule an Independent Medical Examination (IME) of the Plaintiff. This entire process can take 6 months or years to conclude. By the time the case goes to trial, both sides know the other side’s case.
- LITIGATION AND SETTLEMENT ALTERNATIVES: The court may then order the case to non-binding Arbitration. An award is made within 30 days. If accepted by both Plaintiff and Defendant, then the case is over or either Plaintiff or Defendant has 30 days to file a request for a Trial de Novo with the Court.
If either Plaintiff or Defendant requests a Trial de Novo with the Court, a Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) and Trial date is scheduled at least 4 to 6 months in advance. The MSC is the last court hearing, before Trial, where attorneys with the Plaintiff and Defendant, make one last formal attempt to resolve their case before the judge. If not settled at the MSC, the case proceeds to Trial where a verdict is rendered. This is the final outcome of the case, absent an appeal. However, remember when appearing in court for any stage of the proceeding, you must be on your best behavior. You don’t know if the car you cut of or flipped off, is a judge, DA, Court personnel or JUROR! As you can see this process can take a lot of time. Insurance want to case to drag out, so we have Justice Delayed for all…but the insurance company.
When a settlement or verdict is reached, the settlement draft is put in out Trust account, and upon clearing, checks are issued to everyone. Please note that it can take 30 days or more to receive this draft. Unfortunately insurance companies continue to “deny and delay “in order to stall paying the money and allowing the insurance company to get the “float” on the money. We suggest checking with your CPA to confirm the money is TAX free.
Attorney at Law
“TOP LAWYER” Palm Springs Life DUI/PI (2011-23)
“TOP LAWYER” Inland Empire Magazine
73-061 El Paseo, Suite 220
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Office – 760-837-7500
Fax – 760 837-7502