Knowing exactly how extensive your injury accident damages are and, as a result, how much your injury case is “worth,” are important pieces of knowledge in any personal injury litigation, especially in California. California has a statute, Section 998 of the Code of Civil Procedure, that is designed to promote the settlement of civil cases. It says that if the defense makes a settlement offer that meets all the statutory requirements listed in Section 998 (a qualifying “998 offer”), then there are some very important consequences you can face, depending on how you handle that offer and how your case resolves.
If your opponent makes a valid 998 offer that you decline, and the jury (or judge in a bench trial) awards you a sum of damages that is less than the settlement offer (or returns a defense verdict), then not only are you not eligible to recover the costs that you incurred after the date of the settlement offer, the defense can recover their costs that were racked up after the date of the offer. This difference can be quite a significant sum, and is just one more example of how your injury case can benefit from the knowledge and skill provided by an experienced California personal injury attorney.
A recent case from San Bernardino County (Superior Court Case Number CIVDS1505973) was an example of this process in action. The event that led to litigation was an intersection collision in the city of Upland. A city employee ran a red light and crashed into M.N. The employee was on the job at the time that the accident took place. The injured woman sued both the city and the man who hit her. The key dispute in this trial focused less upon whether or not the employee had caused the accident, and more around the extent of the injured woman’s damages.