I feel terrible when potential client’s call, for a legal answer, or want me to represent them… and I can’t accept their case. They wouldn’t expect a doctor, or contractor to quote a price for representation without meeting the patient or customer in person, but somehow a lawyer is often thought of differently.

It makes me sick when I don’t accept a PI/DUI case, 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 legal problems with the best results possible. On civil hourly cases, other than PI, lawyers are concerned with the potential client being able to “stay in the game,” because of their inferior financial situation compared to that of the other party.

Hourly cases are very expensive, and I don’t want to accept a winnable case, where even though we win, the litigation costs are so much, that the client will be unhappy. I prefer rejecting cases, rather than having a future unhappy client. I don’t need the money that much to take advantage clients.

I ask each potential hourly civil client, “Who has more money… you or the other party?” Lawyers don’t want to start litigation, on a good case, and then have the client say 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” their opponent with motions and appeals etc.


Unfortunately, a less affluent client can’t always “stay in the game.”

It’s also important to know whether our client has a prior Felony record. This is because the judge will issue a jury instruction, that they can consider how much weight to give to that testimony. For civil litigation cases, it is also important to learn whether the client has a history of suing people or being sued.

On a PI, I need to know if the prospective client has preexisting injuries. We also reject cases when the injured party didn’t seek immediate medical treatment or has been talking to the insurance company.

Immediate medical treatment means going to the hospital or doctor, from the scene of the accident, or going to an urgent care facility within 24 hours. Absent this, the insurance company argues, if the victim was really injured, they would have sought immediate medical help.

If the car’s property damage, is less than $4,000 on a soft tissue case, we often reject the case because insurance companies tend to question how the victim could be injured, if there was minimal property damage. Unfortunately, some juries buy into these arguments and often come back with verdicts in favor of the defendant insurance company. This can also occur even when a victim is rear ended and has had minimal medical treatment after the accident.

We consider whether the accident victim contacted us in a timely manner, and whether they had been talking to the defendant’s lawyer or adjuster. If so, we will never know what the client said OR WHAT THE OTHER PARTY THOUGHT they heard my client say. That is how a lawyer gets blindsided in trial. Settling cases is more difficult today, because of new insurance company policies of denying and delaying.

Today, we see an insurance company offering $6,000, when the rear ended victim has medical bills of $9,000. If we accept the $6,000, and pay all the medical bills, there wouldn’t be money left for the client or lawyer. We reject many “soft tissue” accident cases, when we suspect our client will not be happy, and a victim again.

If we go to trial, the case 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. In addition, we often have to wait several years for the case to get to trial because of California’s court cutbacks and the Indio court having a Covid backlog.

It’s not always in the client’s best interest to go to trial on a small case…let alone accept the case. We have to consider the client’s outcome, not just ours when we accept a case.

Ideas for future articles, call Dale Gribow (760) 837-7500 or dale@dalegribowlaw.com

Dale Gribow, a “Boutique Concierge” award winning lawyer, whose career has included:

AWARDED TOP LAWYER: PS Life, PI/DUI 2011-24; Inland Empire Magazine; AV Preeminent Martindale (the most respected national rating by Judges and Attorneys); 10.0/5 Star Avvo “Superb”- 5 STAR Google, Justia & Expertise.com; Attorney of the Year, Ca-Top 100 Lawyers; Stellar Diamond Top Attorney 9/23; Elite Lawyer 11/1/23.