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How California Personal Injury Cases Are Proceeding During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the United States and throughout the world. The California Superior Court system is not immune to the negative consequences. Many of the courts are under orders to remain closed or to offer limited access to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Santa Barbara County Superior Court is open but is operating on a restricted basis. The court has recently completed a few criminal trials. However, civil trials, including personal injury cases, are not being conducted. It is expected that such trials will not be scheduled in Santa Barbara until sometime in 2021.

These restrictions do not mean that your personal injury case cannot be handled properly. Even though civil cases are not being tried, new cases can be electronically filed using the courts’ TrueFiling platform. Courts are also now starting to conduct hearings and conferences via Zoom and other videoconferencing technology. The preliminary phases of a lawsuit, such as discovery and depositions, are conducted out of court and can thus proceed remotely or in lawyers’ offices as long as adequate protective measures are taken.

Even though trials are not proceeding for the time being, there is much work that an attorney can complete to prepare your personal injury case. There may be physical evidence that needs to be preserved. In the case of a motor vehicle accident, police reports will have to be collected. Witnesses may have to be located and interviewed. Records of your medical treatment will have to be obtained and reviewed. Expert witnesses may have to be retained to examine your case.

In addition, state regulators have ordered insurance companies to continue to process claims normally during the pandemic. This means that conversations with assessors and negotiations with defense counsel can continue, so that settlements can often be reached without going to trial.

At Patterson Law, we will not let the COVID-19 pandemic stop you from being compensated for your personal injury. We primarily serve Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, though we work with clients from Los Angeles and San Francisco as well. Initial consultations are free. Call us at 888-479-4589 or contact us online.