Fresno, CA asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Personal Injury for California

Q: Is it common practice for a lawyer to set up a personal injury trial date even before a mediation hearing has happened?

I understand that my attorneys charge rate goes up after a trial date is set, I however thought that a trial date was to be set after failing to reach. Settlement during mediation/arbitration. A month agoI recieved a letter stating that a trial date has been set for the summer of 2018. Now 1 week ago I recieved a letter stating that a mediation hearing has been set for next month. I'm not a lawyer but this is in the reverse order of what I've heard and have read up on . I trust my representation but must admit I am becoming suspicious.

3 Lawyer Answers
Randall R. Walton
Randall R. Walton
PREMIUM
Answered
  • San Marcos, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It's not clear what jurisdiction you are in, but in San Diego there is a case management conference a few months after the lawsuit is filed. At that conference, the judge will ask if the parties are interested in mediation, and, if so, require that it be completed by a certain date. The trial date is also set at that conference. Cases are not required to be mediated.

If your fee is structured in such a way that increases when the trial date is "set," that would be unusual here in San Diego because trial dates are set fairly early in the process. I would suggest that you take a closer look at your fee agreement. With a trial date set more than a year out, it would be uncommon for a fee to increase so far in advance of trial.

Best of luck.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Answered
  • Arbitration & Mediation Lawyer
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If you trust your representation, why would you not first ask your lawyer for an explanation? It is not uncommon for a court to set a trial date (at a Case Management or Trial Setting Conference), after which the parties go to mediation. You can go to the court and check your case file if you want to see what happened, but you could also communicate directly with your counsel.

William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The court's set trial dates, not attorneys. Defendants frequently don't get serious about settlement until there is a trial date. Sounds normal to me.

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