With 2024 Inflation, a potential client’s assets are important. I feel terrible when potential client’s call, wanting representation, and a legal answer over the phone and ask me to represent them on a civil matter, other than an accident… and I can NOT accept their case. This if often because I know they do not have enough money.  I know they would not expect a doctor or contractor to diagnose or give a bid or agree to do something when they don’t have the money and without meeting the patient or customer in person. However, somehow a lawyer is often thought of differently.

It makes me sick when I can’t accept a civil case for someone in need, and it is often hard for most callers to understand why. At Dale Gribow Attorney at Law, our focus is on successfully resolving our client’s civil and criminal problems.

On all civil litigation we are concerned with our client being able to “stay in the game” because of their inferior financial situation as compared to the other party. Other than contingency accident cases, most civil matters are handled hourly. That can be very expensive, and I do not want to accept a case where when we win the costs of litigation are so great, that the client does not receive a happy result. I would rather reject those cases than bill the client thousands of dollars and then not have a happy client.

Therefore, I ask each potential hourly client, “Who has more money… you or the other party?” The last thing we want is to start litigating a good case and then have our client tell us they have to fold their cards and drop the case because they can no longer afford the litigation. If one party has more money, and knows it, they often “paper” the other side with motions and appeals etc. Unfortunately, the less affluent client cannot “stay in the game”.


Another consideration is whether our client has a prior Felony record, as the judge will issue a jury instruction that the jury can decide how much credence to give to the testimony of a convicted felon. With all civil litigation cases, it is important whether the client has a history of suing people or being sued. Of course, with any accident case, I need to know if the prospective client has preexisting injuries to the same area via an auto accident, slip and fall or sports injury etc.

In addition, with all civil cases, we must consider whether the client contacted us in a timely manner, and whether they had been talking to the lawyer or adjuster for the other side. If so, we will never know what the client said OR WHAT THE OTHER PARTY THOUGHT s/he heard my client say. That is how a lawyer gets blindsided at trial.

A large amount of my practice is collecting compensation for accident victims, contract disputes and real estate issues. Accident victim’s compensation is more difficult today because of new insurance company policies of denying and delaying.

Today it is common for an insurance company to offer $6,000 when the victim has a medical bill of $9,000 …and clear liability. If a lawyer accepts that amount and pays most of the accrued bills there may be no money left for the victim or the lawyer. We do not want to accept a case when we know our client will not be happy and could be a victim…again. Thus we reject many small soft tissue cases!

If we decide to go to trial, the costs dramatically increase.  It can take between $15,000 to $50,000 to pay for court costs, investigation and expert witness testimony on a soft tissue case. The lawyer, client and witnesses all increase the time spent preparing for trial. Unfortunately, the client often has to wait several years for the case to get to trial because of California’s court cutbacks.

I hope this missive helps you to understand why it is not always in the client’s or lawyer’s best interest to take a case to trial. This is another reason to not accept a case.


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Upon the advice of my attorney, Dale Gribow, I exercise my right to remain silent until you contact him at (760) 837-7500 or dale@dalegribowlaw.com for an OK.
My attorney has advised me that the VOLUNTARY FIELD SOBRIETY (FST) AND BREATH TEST at the scene, are OPTIONAL (unless one is on probation). Thus, I elect not to take them. I want to cooperate and am happy to take a BLOOD TEST.

DALE GRIBOW is a “Boutique Concierge” PI/DUI firm with 25+ TOP LAWYER awards, 9 Man of the Year recognitions, 4 Dale Gribow Days, and awarded “Mr. Charity”.
He has represented the CV’s Seriously Injured and Criminally Accused for 30 years. The caseload is limited so calls can be answered and returned, the “Old Fashioned” way…by Dale. “Whether I accept your case or not, if you take the time to call, I will personally direct you.”

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