Ehline Law Firm is recognized internationally for its affordable service, critical thinking and superior advocacy in personal injury law matters. This sizeable and renowned law firm helps people with bad accidents and personal injury claims. Since 2005 our personal injury and accident attorneys have produced landmark results for their happy clients. In fact, our lawyers have brought in well over $100 million dollars in verdicts and settlements.
Once you speak to one of our compassionate team members, you will see the difference in our portfolio. Our accident attorneys have assisted injured So Cal clients in the LA and Orange County for over a decade. Also, we maintain several convenient meeting locations. So we have San Bernardino, Orange County and Los Angeles offices near Wilshire Blvd in Downtown LA. Also, we serve clients at their home, office or hospital bed. Go ahead and reach out now!
When a loved one gets harmed in an accident, you and your family need to hire the best personal injury lawyers money can buy.
An injury lawyer practices law on behalf of tort victims. Other names used over the years include attorney, solicitor, advocate, barrister, counselor, ambulance chaser and chartered legal executive. The art of lawyering includes the practical application of abstract legal theories. These specialized lawyers will have above average knowledge to solve specific problems of accident victims. Their job is to advance the interests of plaintiffs who retain them. The decision to hire a lawyer will be one of the most important ones a person can make.
After all something like a bad car, truck, bus or motorcycle accident usually causes great upheaval in our day to day lives. The fiscal stress alone can make you nervous and depressed. It could cause you to break down emotionally. In fact, right after a bad crash or slip and fall, for example, expect a trip to the hospital. Sometimes victims need an MRI, CT scan or X Rays. Experts like a rheumatologist may be called into play. Sometimes we use our vacation pay just to attend physical therapy. Other times we cannot work at all and get fired after missing too much work.
A top notch accident-related personal injury attorney helps mitigate the harm caused by the damages causing your injury. After all, a mishap was unanticipated. And thus, you handling the fallout is not something you should have to be prepared for. This is why you retain legal assistance on your way to a full recovery of your health.
Our satisfied clients consist of victims of tragic mishaps. We help people injured in accidents by heedless miscreants. And we support many types of suffering people. In 2013 at least 4.8 million people passed away from injuries. This number was greater than the 4.3 million in 1990. Also, approximately 30% of those killed died in transportation accidents. Also, in 2013, at least 367,000 children under five years of age died. Injuries are the cause of 9% of all deaths. Believe it or not, injuries to people are the 6th leading cause of the world's deaths.
A wide swath of people become injured from negligence. Tourists, students, business owners and employees hire us for accidents. Clients seeking personal injury legal advice engage us.
Our online reviews and winning record verify our relentlessness and standing in the local legal and consumer community. Our top credentials have resulted in over $100 million dollars in verdicts and settlements. Also, we act swiftly to hold the party responsible for the mishap accountable. Hence, we are in the top 1% of accident personal injury attorneys.
Greater Los Angeles is our home base, and the tentacles of our boutique law firm stretch all across the state. Call Right Now and Get a Telephonic Phone CONSULTATION with a trustworthy, champion legal representative. The bottom line is that we make it happen.
A personal injury is defined to include a wide swath of legal issues. Typically, when an accident happens, someone gets hurt somehow. Most of the time these matters will require legal help from an injury lawyer. Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC represents innocent tort victims in Greater Los Angeles, and across the Golden State. So the bottom line is that plaintiffs anywhere in California know they can count on us in their eternal pursuit of a just outcome for an accident that was not their fault.
Also, our firm is world famous for landmark results in traffic accidents, cruise ship law, elder abuse, and as motorcycle lawyers. In fact, some of the negligent misconduct causes terrible burn injuries, wrongful death, spinal cord damage or brain injuries. But these are just some of the delicate matters our law firm helps people with. Also, as discussed below, we have the requisite bankroll to fight Fortune 500 corporations, as well as overreaching public servants. At the end of the day, we make the government, as well as people who put profits over safety pay for their abuse and neglect.
Of note, our accident attorneys are managed by an honorably discharged U.S. Marine, Michael Ehline. This veteran run law firm will use its muscle and superior tactics to surmount any obstacle in the pursuit of justice. Also, we offer big firm results with small firm service. Plus, we take on all comers, no matter how large or small their defense is involved.
• Ready To Let Us Tell Your Story?
Since 2005, our staff of tough, excellent and skillful lawyers has amassed a war-chest of legal briefs, resolved dockets, and industry contacts. This means we can hire the best and most skilled case experts and investigators to help you win the maximum financial compensation. As discussed, these claims are fact-specific. Because of this, we use our on-site private investigators to take photos and conduct site inspections.
When we present your claim to the court or insurer, we will be prepared to tell your side of the story. That way we can demonstrate to the adjuster that you remain a living, breathing person, rather than a nameless, faceless victim. They will know about your military experience, your charitable work, and everything else. The insurer will also see you are broke, hurt and put out of work by their insured. Next, they will learn the story of how your life is threatened. And all of this is because of someone's negligence.
We also promptly try and interview witnesses within days of the sign-up. After all, the city may make efforts to repair damage, and the witnesses could pass away, or forget important facts. With resources like this, we are in the poll position to score you a big win.
The nagging question for many personal injury victims, is “how do I know who to hire for my accident insurance or court claims?” We have identified some things to look out for.
First of all, hiring a stellar, quality accident attorney to act as your mouthpiece is not that easy. Your life has already been negatively impacted from the reprehensible conduct that caused a collision, slip, trip, and fall, or other accident. Of course, your case could evolve into an opioid-induced car crash or adverse drug case. As seen above, there are a variety of fields of personal injury law.
What once seemed simple to the victims may now have become an elaborate, permanent injury case. And all the while, you are suffering and incapable of self-representation. The high dollar amounts of cases resolved seems like a good place to start.
But that is not the case. If your lawyer handles only significant injury cases, you may never speak with or see him or her. After all, invariably, you will be left to talk to a law clerk or paralegal instead of your retained trial attorney. This does little to foster confidence in an accident victim.
Sadly, much older and proven lawyers will be less familiar with technology. So staying in touch and being abreast of your matter becomes seemingly impossible. This lack of communication makes matters worse. One of the top reasons to hire us is our promptness. When you say "jump," we say "how high?"
Accident victims should ask:
• Are the Attorney's Online Reviews Excellent or Mediocre?
• Do any State Bar Complaints Show Up Online?
• Are Tremendous Jury Verdicts and Settlements Associated with the Firm?
• Is Your Potential Lawyer Competent In Navigating Insurance Claims?
• Is there a Lengthy Delay and Promptness in Returning Calls and Emails?
• What is the Actual Percentage of the Contingency Fees?
• Is there a Good Reputation in Place With Courts and Court Clerks?
• Does the Lawyer Offer Sound Advice Both Personal and Legal?
• Does the Attorney Get Along With the Defense Attorneys?
• Do the Employees or staff have peer ratings from Superlawyers, Personal Injury Warriors International, or other attorney rating organizations?
A quick glance at our online profile shows that we meet all of the above qualifications and more. If any of the above is missing from the firm or lawyer's CV, you may wish to look at other avenues of legal representation. The key to winning big means retaining an honorable, dutiful and tenacious advocate with mad skills. Once you hire us, we will review every aspect of your dossier.
We will also do a full economic work up for your medical bills and records. And this is why we harp on you gathering and maintaining all your treatment records. These tangible and intangible qualities are paramount to winning.
How Do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Case?
If you have a case, rest assured that our extremely knowledgeable personal injury lawyers are very aggressive in their legal representation. Our primary focus is on clients wounded in accidents caused by the negligence or recklessness of other people.
In a nutshell, when a person acts carelessly, and another person becomes harmed, the law calls this the tort of "negligence." Here, when a victim suffers harm, he or she can recover damages for the loss in a lawsuit. The prevailing party or "plaintiff" to the suit is also known as the injured party. To win, the plaintiff must demonstrate that actions or lack of action by the defendant legally caused recognizable harm. In tort law, legal injuries might include emotional, reputational or economic injuries. In fact, privacy, property, or constitutional rights violations are also torts. Torts may encompass auto accidents, defamation, false imprisonment, bad drugs, product liability, and even copyright infringement.
Modernly, environmental pollution cases (also known as toxic torts) are also torts.
Of course, many torts are the result of negligence. But California tort law includes intentional torts. Intentional torts occur when a person intentionally acts in a way that harms another. Beyond this are product liability claims falling under "strict liability."
In these cases, the plaintiff does not even need to show negligence. Damages are presumed as a matter of law. In any event, tort law differs from the criminal law, because torts include negligent as well as intentional or criminal actions. Also, tort lawsuits have a lower burden of proof. In a tort case, the lower preponderance of evidence standard is used.
In a criminal case, the more difficult beyond a reasonable doubt standard is utilized. For example, a party can win their tort case against a defendant who wins in criminal court. A recent example would be the O. J. Simpson case. O.J. was acquitted in his criminal trial of double murder. But he lost his wrongful death tort lawsuit.
How Do I Prove Negligence?
In law school, lawyers are trained that negligence is comprised of several elements. These include duty, breach of duty, actual cause, proximate cause, and damages. (United States Liab. Ins. Co. v. Haidinger-Hayes, Inc. (1970) 1 Cal.3d 586, 594; Romito v. Red Plastic Co. (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 59.) But under Civil Code Section 1714, actual cause and proximate cause are the same thing. This is called the "substantial factor" test.
“Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.” (Civil Code Section 1714; See also CACI Section 400).
So “‘The elements of a cause of action for negligence are well-established. They are “(a) a legal duty to use due care; (b) a breach of such legal duty; [and] (c) the breach as the proximate or legal cause of the resulting injury.”’ (Ladd v. County of San Mateo (1996) 12 Cal.4th 913, 917 [50 Cal.Rptr.2d 309, 911 P.2d 496].)
Let's break these elements down to help the adjuster, client and jury understand.
• Legal Duty: A legal duty has to do with everyone's duty as a citizen to act reasonably towards any potential plaintiff. Some people owe a special duty, and others owe a regular duty of care. Examples of those owing a special duty are common carriers, doctors, lawyers and licensed experts such as psychologists. A motor vehicle operator of a passenger car owes a general duty. But if he or she hires out with Uber or Lyft, they owe a special duty. Making sense so far? In a general duty situation, no personal relationship is required. So if a defendant accidentally discharges a gun, and someone dies far away, the shooter is liable for the death or injuries.
• Breach of Duty: California law makes clear that if someone is harmed after a person fails to act with "want of ordinary care," there is a breach of duty. Think about liquid on the floor at the vegetable and fruit aisle of a grocery store. Ordinary care would require the grocer to assume the floor would be wet. So if reasonable inspections were not conducted, someone would likely slip and fall. Getting this?
• Substantial Factor Test (Actual and Proximate Cause): Modernly, in California, actual and proximate cause is merged to simply mean was the conduct, or failure to act a substantial factor plaintiff’s harm? Basically, with few exceptions, an inattentive driver who veers into the bike lane and runs over a bicyclist caused an unsafe event. So clearly, it was a substantial factor in maiming or killing the cyclist.
• Actual Damages - Damages interestingly enough can mean two things. First, it means the harm. But most personal injury lawyers and courts also refer to the damages award, as "damages" too. So I am calling this "actual damages" so as not to blur the lines. Simply put, any emotional, physical harm/death is the actual damages. When present, an adjuster, jury or court may award compensatory damages to a plaintiff, or the survivors of the negligent act. Once paid, the defendant has compensated the claimant, and the civil matter is settled as a matter of law.
Yes, you can! Sometimes two or more acts or failures to act combine in an accident. In some states, unless the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the wreck, the plaintiff's case is dismissed. But in California, we use the pure comparative negligence rules. So here, your award is simply reduced based upon your percentage of fault. For example. A and B are in a car crash. A is following too closely, and rear ends B. But B gets out of the car in traffic and gets run over by an oncoming California Highway Patrol police cruiser. B dies.
The jury would award the survivors of B for the vehicle damage and whiplash. But B's estate would need to sue the CHP for the death. However, getting out of a car in oncoming traffic would mean that B was partially at fault. Hence, under pure comparative negligence principles, the jury may find B 50% at the blame. So if the court awards B $1 million dollars against the CHP, the family would only get $500 thousand dollars. Is this making sense so far?
In fact, a significant number of our clients have lost jobs and income since they can no longer work. But still worse, now there are medical bills, past due mortgage and rent, and other invoices piling up. In fact, some accident victims can become destitute as they convalesce. Even if people can work, they may have no motor car due to the terrible property damage.
Some tort victims of preventable accidents may actually be permanently disabled. Also, they may facing a lifetime of missed opportunities. And other may be facing permanent disability. Sadly, this was all caused by an avoidable accident.
The good news for those suffering, is that there is a legislative scheme in place to protect people harmed from negligence. California negligence law enables people to garner compensatory damages for the losses stated above. Obviously, money can't solve what happened in the past. But there is no "pound of flesh" available to personal injury victims these days. Under English Common law it was different. Now, it's all about money.
But a financial award helps the suffering person manage their bills and stay afloat as they heal up and achieve some improvement. This includes the enormous impact of financial costs like getting food on the table as people recover. Last but not least, a damages award holds those responsible accountable for the life-changing consequences of sustaining the injury. There still may be criminal repercussions for the defendant. A DUI hit and run case is a good example. There are crimes and torts here. But the crime includes restitution, time behind bars, MADD meetings, probation and more in many cases.
Of note, visible physical injuries are not the only conduit required for an actionable personal injury case. A bodily injury could include the emotional distress of a fraud or defamation claim, for example. Even the expectation of harm from an assault is enough to bring on a PTSD claim.
So it's not just bruises, sprains or cuts from a bicycle or motorcycle accidents that harm us. In a nutshell, emotional hardships can also form the basis of your compensatory damages amount. After all, this likely was the basis of lost wages, medical bills, etc. Assuming this happened, you have a personal injury claim created under CA law.
How to tally the value of a personal injury case depends on many variables and a whole host of related costs and fees. It remains impossible to predict case values accurately. First, the dollar amount of bills, therapy, and lost work are a major and critical component. Intangibles like mental suffering and physical pain must be creatively calculated. Usually, experts are required. Most lawyers will advance these costs. But the victim will pay it back out of the settlement.
Although there is no magical personal injury case value calculator, the court, adjuster or jury will look at:
• All of the losses and how they are categorized
• The total rehabilitation and medical expenses connected with your injuries
• Past, present and future losses of income related to your personal injuries
• Your life-altering disabilities caused by or related to your accidental injuries
• Any property damage related losses or damages
• Any pain and suffering you may have experienced from your injuries
By using this information, our accident lawyers will determine the likely probability of the recoverable dollar amounts of damages for your injury case. So obviously, the lawyers you retain will play a major role in the damages recovered. Ehline Law Firm is world-renowned for promptness and swiftness in garnering large verdicts and settlements. Because of this, we have won numerous awards. So this makes us a tier one and proven plaintiff's law firm. In fact, many other lawyers refer their big cases to us due to our stellar results.
In turn, we protect their rights in civil cases. We help in many challenging situations. Again and again, people get stumped by insurance companies. So they feel like they got the runaround. Some clients want to make a change.
Many clients we work with fired their old lawyer. Most of them suffered injuries in traffic collisions with other motorists. But they are all undergoing a stressful experience.
Luckily, in most cases, insurance companies will pay off the judgment. The judgment is basically a court order to the defendant to pay the jury award. If the case wins at trial, judgment is entered in favor of the plaintiff. If the judgment is not paid, it is usually due to bankruptcy, and the plaintiff stands in line after the secured creditor since this is an unsecured debt.
If you have another legal issue or injury claim not discussed above, we can probably help. We have convenient locations all across the State of California, including San Bernardino, Torrance, Newport Beach and Carlsbad. Call us now at (213) 596-9642.
The injury attorneys at Ehline Law Firm treat clients like family. Questions get answered right away in all accident cases. Victims feel comfort knowing this. The warmth we generate makes clients confident. So they know they have a champion in their corner.
Whatever it takes, we seek justice as Los Angeles accident attorneys. We are internationally known for our blogs and articles as well. This firm's ardor prepares cases to go all the way to trial and win. The liable party or defendant should pay up.
Their negligence or grossly wrong conduct caused harm to others. So don't sit idly by and let the bad ones get away with it. Seek legal help for your accident before time runs out. Speak to a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney at Ehline Law Firm. Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC is a well respected top 1% California personal injury law firm. In fact, we were featured in Newsweek’s Premier Personal Injury Attorneys, and as recipients of the Litigator Awards. Our top notch team of staff and complex case litigators have a combined experience of over 30 years assisting various victims of accidents. We have won multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts in addition to being honored by peers and clients alike.
There is not a set litmus test for how long it takes injury cases to resolve. Like human beings, each case is unique. So from filing suit, to settlement or verdict will be different in every case. In fact, some cases settle fast, while others cases can stretch out for many months or years. Many times it is up to the defendant's liability insurance company. Other times it's up to the victim's insurance carrier.
But this usually depends on the insurance company you are dealing with. Most insurance companies offer low ball payouts at first. They want to settle matter as fast and as cheaply as possible. In other words, you may get just pennies on the dollar as your first offer. Getting what your case is really worth usually depends upon how much work you or your lawyer did to gather facts, and document evidence quickly.
Some lawyers let your file sit in the corner and do little to work up the folder. When you retain us, you know that a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will closely monitor your file. So you will know what is going on during the entire process. Also, we will become intimately familiar with you and your case.
Bottom line here is whether or not you have a lawyer, not all the evidence is readily available. You can't get all your medical bills and records until you have reasonably concluded treating your injuries. Sometimes Traffic Collision Reports will take months to be released. (LAPD reports typically take 30 days or greater). The good news is that educated consumers can make a formal complaint to the California Department of Insurance.
But this can only be done if the insurer fails to resolve the claim within a reasonable period after submission of a settlement demand. The Ehline Law Firm is well known for building on this entire process with speed, aggression and diligence. In fact, hiring a lawyer at our firm could very well be one of the most important decisions you make. The idea is to strike while the iron is hot. If we cannot get you a good settlement, then we take the case to trial. Simple as that!
Invariably, injury victims have one question that arises above all others. The resounding question is: "How long after the settlement will it take to get me paid?" Typically, the profit-driven insurance company has to order a draft payment from its home office. This does not happen overnight. In fact, there could be a backlog. They are in no hurry to pay. Typically the firm or attorney won’t send a demand package until you at your point of maximum medical recovery.
Also, even after the payment gets deposited into the bank by your lawyer, those lawyers must first resolve medical and Medical/Medicare liens, if they exist. Also, military service-members may have Tri Care Liens. All this must get taken care of before the client gets paid. So even though the lawyer has money in the attorney-client trust account, it doesn't mean you're getting paid right away in all cases. This is the part of the case where patience is a virtue.
A contingency fee enables injury victims to obtain a veteran, trained lawyer with no money out of pocket. Most injury victims cannot come up with money for a lawyer. That way the suffering party can place attention on getting better. When the award is paid, the attorneys take their fee out of the gross amount. They also recover any costs for things like ordering records, court reporter fees, costs of retained experts and even non retained experts.
Ehline Law has a well oiled group of honed, seasoned and highly professional personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles County and all major California cities. Collectively, we have over 30 years of legal experience. We are proud of our reputation for establishing personal relationships with our clients.
We want to make you a friend, not just a file. Because of this, we make certain our personal injury lawyers keep in touch with you about your legal matters. That way you can stay abreast of legal strategies and tactics.
As your spokesperson, we will act as both your sword and shield. But most of all, our Los Angeles accident lawyers go the extra mile to hear you out and learn the facts. This helps us with the case data work up and in earning your trust.
There are some initial steps that must be taken immediately after an accident. Most cases involve nerve-racking traffic collisions.
Traffic collisions are also called motor vehicle collisions (MVC). But each locale seems to have its own definition that is similar. These typically occur when one vehicle collides with another vehicle, varmint, obstruction, stationary obstacle, like a power pole, or even a person on foot. Most of all traffic collisions cause many injuries. These include property damage, death, and permanent disabilities. Although there are many reasons for traffic crashes, the main ones are distracted driving, road rage, vehicle speed, vehicle design and driver skill/experience. Other factors include road environment, road design and driver impairment due to legal, or illegal drugs and alcohol. Other factors include activities like street racing.
Around the world, MVC's lead to tragedy and heavy financial burdens to families and taxpayers. In 2013 roadway injuries hurt at least 54 million people. During the same period, 1.4 million people died in wrecks. This number has steadily risen since 1990.
Still worse, at least 68,000 vehicle deaths involved children less than five years old. Much of this seems to hinge on the income rates of the countries involved. The higher the incomes have the lower the death rates. But the middle income countries actually have the highest death rates.
Below are a few important things to do for a typical crash:
• Call an ambulance;
• Call 9-1-1 and get a Traffic Collision Report;
• Exchange ID and insurance info with all others involved;
• Takes photos of the accident scene;
• Get witness' names, addresses and phone numbers;
• Attend physical therapy.
So you can see, aside from medical treatment, you need to take other active steps to assure you have evidence to prove negligence and damages (See above). Damages mitigation is key. If you fail to get a medical report right away, the defendant will claim you either were not injured at all and got hurt at the gym, for example. Or they may try and argue that you exacerbated your injuries by delaying care. Then you have a pure comparative negligence issue for making things worse.
In some cases, it may only be a property damages claim. If so, consider small claims court to handle your case. If there are catastrophic injuries, consider locating an award winning attorney. As noted above, a well trained lawyer is best suited to getting victims the maximum compensation under California law.
In most cases, your lawyer will be good enough to avoid filing a lawsuit in court. But sometimes you are still treating for injuries and the statute of limitations is approaching. So sometimes the lawyer must file the lawsuit to protect the statute and avoid a professional malpractice claim. Is this making sense?
As noted previously, a great attorney will subpoena reports and records. But in order to adequately prepare a typical injury case, a case workup must be done. There are important steps a personal injury lawyer will take to win a successful case. Case discovery, mediation, and settlement are detailed below.
A lawsuit is usually a formal written complaint to to court that generally alleges the negligence and other causes of action. It is filed with the court and served on each defendant. Usually a process server will serve it on behalf of the plaintiff.
As discussed, there is a two year statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in California. But in cases where you sue the government or a cruise ship company, things are different. This is why you must speak to a lawyer as soon as possible!
Next, the defendant will either answer, demur or file a motion for summary judgment (MSJ). If the case is allowed to proceed, then we move on to the next steps.
After filing suit, there will be an initial case management conference (CMC), and a lengthy period for civil discovery. This means both sides get to ask eachother written questions and demand documents and things. If one side feels like the interview process is not being satisfied, a motion to compel and for sanctions may be filed. Depositions are often taken as well. This means each side gets to submit oral questions to witnesses in person, under penalty of perjury. Once the interview process is over, additional items or witnesses may be subpoenaed.
The first thing you must know about depositions are the types of questions that are allowed. In fact, even if the questions are irrelevant, compound, disjunctive, conjunctive, asked and answered, or even lack foundation, etc., they are allowed. The reasoning is that the question's answer may lead to other evidence or witnesses with information that is admissible during trial. So the other side can make the objection and preserve it for trial but you must answer.
In other words, the deponent must respond unless the information is private, privileged or confidential. This remains true even if it is a tag team style deposition with multiple parties. Even then, the opposing side can request a privilege login order to see what is being withheld. Then the judge can decide in camera if there is a substantial likelihood that this evidence is helpful and a low burden of harming any privileges. For most lawyers, no matter how long they have practiced law, depositions are time consuming and accompanied by threats and a lot of stress. No matter what, the defense attorney needs to get answers to a few specific items no matter what.
Always at issue is credibility. In some cases, a jury may find in favor of a plaintiff and only award a dollar. Usually this has to do with the defense tearing the plaintiff a new one during discovery. Locking plaintiff into a false or dishonest answer, or getting a plaintiff to change the answer has been the death knell for many a personal injury case. This means the plaintiff's lawyer must be prepared to deal with questions regarding prior similar accidents and injuries.
So if the plaintiff lies about their past criminal history, illnesses, lawsuits, work history, treatments and records of treatment, this can kill their case.
So no matter what, plaintiffs must be prepared to answer as follows:
• "I don't remember, " "I don't recall."
• "I don't know."
• "In front." (For example. Q: "Where were you?" A: "In front.").
So although the deponent must be honest, there is no requirement to volunteer information, or be forced into answering something he or she is unsure of. Obviously, the attorney you hire must teach and counsel you the process. But even if your lawyer objects, in most cases, you must answer the question.
If not, you can be sanctioned. In some cases a failure to respond can be met with "Doomsday Sanctions." This include, issue and terminating sanctions. In other words, whole defenses and even whole cases can be terminated. So prior to questioning, make sure you are prepared.
At the CMC, the court will set up a mediation or arbitration date. These are meetings between both sides, where a judge, or professional mediator helps both sides try and settle. The idea is to come up with a dollar amount and avoid a trial and more expenses associated with litigation.