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Deciding Whether to Settle or to Go to Trial: Why That Decision Matters So Much in Your California Injury Case

Sometimes, in your auto accident injury case, the question isn’t if you have a case for holding the defendant liable, because the defense has already admitted liability. The question isn’t even whether or not you’ve incurred a substantial amount of damages, because the defense has admitted that, too. The question, then, for some injured people, is “exactly how extensive are my damages and how much compensation should I reasonably expect for them?” Being able to assess these things accurately matters a great deal if you’re in an injury lawsuit in California.

In California, there’s a law that says that, if you reject a statutory settlement offer and the jury awards you less 75% of what was offered, then you lose the ability to recover certain costs and fees and may be on the hook for paying some of the defense’s costs and fees. In other words, it is very, very important, when you receive a statutory settlement offer from the defense, that you have the ability to differentiate a fair offer from a low one. This is a key area where the right San Mateo car accident attorney can help. Your knowledgeable attorney can use his/her wealth of experiences in past cases to help you spot a fair offer… or an unfair one.

T.B. was a woman facing those kinds of questions in her case (Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2016-00861733-CU-PA-CJC.) She was a passenger in vehicle that was involved in a major accident. T.B.’s driver reportedly improperly turned left against a red arrow. The accident totaled both vehicles.


T.B. was ultimately diagnosed with a serious back injury. That injury required her to undergo artificial disc replacement surgery at two levels in her cervical spine. She also asserted that the accident caused her many more problems, including additional back damage that would require more back surgery in the next few years, a complete shoulder replacement surgery within the next decade, a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and instability in her walk. These injuries, she alleged, would require her to have in-home care for the rest of her life.

In her case, the woman sued the auto manufacturer that employed her driver. The auto company admitted that its employee was liable for the accident and admitted that the accident had caused a serious back injury. The defense acknowledged that the first surgery was medically necessary. The rest of T.B.’s assertions, however, the defense rejected.

Based on the damages that it argued were legitimate, the defense made a statutory settlement offer of just above $500,000. T.B.’s legal team made a settlement offer of just less than $1.5 million. The key for T.B. was determining whether $500,000 was enough, or was too little.

The injured woman rejected the offer, and rightly so. The jury concluded that T.B.’s future pain and suffering damages amount alone was $1.5 million. In addition, the jury also awarded $400,000 in past pain and suffering, along with $182,000 in future medical expenses, for a total award of $2.082 million.

When you receive a statutory settlement offer from the other side, you may not know what to do. One of the keys to success is to be sure you have someone on your side who does know what to do when it comes settling or rejecting a settlement offer. The experienced San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos have that kind of knowledge and have been offering that kind of reliable and effective representation to our auto injury clients for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

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Client Reviews

    I retained Ilya Frangos of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos on a business litigation matter involving a frivolous lawsuit filed in federal court. Ilya guided me through the case and helped make sure that I understood the process… He always took the time to answer all my questions and helped put my mind at ease. I would highly recommend him and this firm!


    I called Mr Frye after my wife had passed away… John listened to my case over the phone, after aggreeing to represent me, handled everything from there… I have already recommended Mr Frye to a friend for help with a similiar case and would without reserve recommend him to anybody. He came highly recommended as an expert in these type cases, and I believe he demonstrated this personally.


    Chantel Fitting is as good as it gets. If you have been injured, need help and cant get what you know you deserve from one of the big insurance companies, then you have got to call Chantel. She will fight for you like it was her that was hurt… She cares. Call her. You wont be sorry you did.

    Cindy C.

    A great experience. Excellent law firm which treats their client’s with the utmost respect. Very knowledgeable and made me fell extremely secure when handling my personal injury claim. Would highly recommend Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to handle your next case.

    Lisa D.

    I was fortunate enough to have been represented and retained by this law firm for my injuries sustained by an under insured motorist. I must say Chantel Fitting and Illya Frangos went above and beyond trying to resolve my case… I would highly recommend this law firm and stop shopping around if you are looking for the best, as this is as good as it gets.

    Joanna K.

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