knee injury

Common Knee Injuries Caused by Accidents

Knee injuries are a common occurrence in accidents. These injuries may range from minor scrapes and bruises to knee fractures, dislocations, and ligament tears that may require extensive medical attention and rehabilitation.

The injured victim’s physical condition and age along with the severity of the knee injuries will determine how long it takes to recover from the accident and how successfully the knee function is restored. Certain injuries heal well over a period of time, while others result in chronic pain and impact the victim’s quality of life forever.

Accidents Commonly Result in Patellar Fractures

The kneecap or patella serves as the protective shield for the knee. It gives the knee its structure and the ability to move freely and bend. The knee joint may be exposed to damage because of a break in the kneecap bone. Car accidents cause intense trauma that can cause this break, affecting the kneecap.

These are the four types of patellar fractures:

  • Displaced fractures occur when the bone breaks and is moved from its position. This type of fracture requires surgery to realign the bone with the rest of the knee.
  • Stable fracture: Bone is knocked out of position by 1 – 2 mm
  • Comminuted fracture: Patella gets shattered in 3 or more pieces that remain floating within the knee
  • Open fracture: Pieces of the broken bone pierces the skin or penetrate downwards into the bone

Torn Ligaments Following a Car Crash

This type of injury is common after the knee hits the dashboard following a car crash. Elastic tissues or ligaments hold the knee together. The ligaments are responsible for connecting the femur to the fibula and tibia. It stabilizes the knee joint to protect it from twisting. These ligaments may tear following car accident trauma affecting your mobility.

Following ligaments can suffer damage in a car accident:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

PCL injuries are among the most common types of knee injuries following a car crash. This type of injury is also called the dashboard knee injury. It is mainly caused when the knee hits the dashboard in a rear-end collision or a head-on crash. The tibia is connected to the femur through the PCL. This type of injury can make it difficult for you to move around. You may experience partial difficulty because of this as well.

Meniscus Tear After a Car Accident

A meniscus tear can occur when the knee joint unnaturally hyperextends or twists. You may experience swelling, pain, stiffness, and difficulty with extending the knee because of a torn meniscus. You can heal a minor injury by icing the knee. The torn meniscus will require surgery if the knee locks and therapy are not enough.

Tibial Plateau Fracture Due to a Crushing Car Accident

The tibial plateau fracture refers to a break at the top of the shinbone, which can damage the tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. It may involve the knee joint’s cartilage surface making it harder for the knee to absorb the shock of walking around. This type of fracture can occur as a result of compaction between the knee and a hard surface.

Proving Liability in an Accident Knee Injury Claim

You need to prove the negligence of the at-fault party for knee injury liability claim to succeed. You can learn more about how to identify all responsible parties and prove their negligence by consulting with a skilled attorney.

Consult with a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney in California Today

You should speak with the qualified personal injury attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP if you suspect that your knee injury occurred because of someone else’s negligent actions. We may be able to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Schedule a consultation with our dedicated personal injury lawyers today. Call us at 619-441-2500 or contact us online.

defective tires cause accidents

How Defective Tires Can Cause Auto Accidents

Defective tires are one of the major reasons for automobile accidents. Most drivers overlook the importance of periodically checking car tires. This essential component of a car can have a major impact on overall driving safety. Faulty tires can also result in accidents causing severe or fatal injuries.

A personal injury attorney can help if a driver caused a car accident resulting in injuries and losses to others because they were negligent in checking the tires. Similarly, tire manufacturers, car companies, and car dealers may also be held liable if the accident and injury occurred due to a manufacturing defect in the tires. This article explores a few common types of tire defects which can cause a car accident.

Common Tire Defects in California

Tire defects can happen for a wide array of reasons. In relation to this, the more common causes are because of defects in the manufacturing or designing process. Overworked tire manufacturers may produce defective and deadly products in their efforts to meet a certain amount of per day tire manufacturing quota.

In some cases, tires that don’t show any physical signs of defect can prove to be incredibly dangerous depending on their condition and age. These are a few common tire defects:

  • Belt separation
  • Tread separation
  • Improper repair of tire puncture
  • Tires manufactured without prevention design features
  • Retread failure
  • Unsuitable tires as per the vehicle type
  • Design and manufacturing defects
  • Tires damaged during the mounting process
  • Aged and old tires
  • Side all blowouts
  • Zipper failures
  • Bead defects
  • Trapped internal air pockets within the tires
  • Foreign materials within the tire

Tire Defects Can Cause Catastrophic Accidents

Different types of accidents can occur when motorists drive with defective tires unknowingly. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a minimum of 11,000 tire-related accidents take place each year.

Defective tires can easily explode while being inflated leading to serious injuries. Blowouts, tire explosions, and tread or belt separations can result in serious vehicular accidents.

These are a few common types of car accidents that can result from defective tires:

  1. Loss of control

The defective tire may explode or blow out unexpectedly causing drivers to lose control of their cars. The car may skid, swerve, spin, or rollover. Loss of control accidents can be single-vehicle crashes or involve multiple cars.

  1. Rollovers

Rollover accidents take place when a vehicle rolls onto its roof or side. As per the NHTSA, rollover accidents have the highest fatality rate as compared to any other type of vehicle crash. Tire defects and failures can result in dangerous rollover accidents, which may cause fatal or devastating injuries.

  1. Run off the road

Defective tires can easily cause a vehicle to entirely run off the road. It may make the vehicle jump into the opposite lane. The driver may get involved in a head-on collision as a result. Head-on collisions are rare, but deadly because of the high speeds involved.

Defective Tire Treads Can Cause Serious Injuries

Accidents as a result of defective tires can cause serious injuries. In some cases, the accident may prove to be fatal as well. These are a few common tire defect accident injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Closed head injuries (CHI)
  • Chest injuries
  • Neck and whiplash injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Damage to the back and spinal cord
  • Bruises
  • Amputations
  • Internal bleeding
  • Paralysis
  • Wrongful death

Signs of Defective Tires

NHTSA conducted a study of 11,500 vehicles in 2014 and observed that an estimated 50% of cars were being used with at least one worn-out tread. Also, 1 in every 10 vehicles had at least 1 bald tire. This only goes to show that majority of vehicle owners and drivers are not serious about keeping up with tire maintenance. They don’t check their tires regularly either for ensuring whether they are in good shape or properly functioning.

Performing the penny test is an easy way of checking the tires’ tread. In this test, a penny is placed in the tire tread. You probably need to replace the tire if you can see the penny mostly or the top of Lincoln’s head. Your tire is likely in good shape if the penny goes in most of the way and you cannot see Lincoln’s head.

In addition, most tire warranties are meant to last for a certain amount of time or cover a specified number of miles. For instance, the tire may have a warranty covering them for the first 50,000 miles. You should take advantage of the warranty if you believe the tires are defective and still in warranty. You may be able to get the tires replaced if required.

Other signs to look out for include:

  • Bulges or blisters indicating a weak spot (immediate replacement)
  • Uneven tread wear
  • Cuts or cracks in the sidewall
  • Worn out tread
  • Vibration while driving

Speak with a Dedicated Car Accident Attorney in California Today

The experienced attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP are here to help you if you or a loved one was injured in a vehicle accident. Our capable lawyers will fight aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve. You can schedule an appointment today by calling at 619-441-2500 or using our online contact form.

rising cost of long term medial care

The Rising Costs of Long-Term Medical Care

Have you ever wondered what would happen to you if you were to suffer a debilitating injury or a medical condition that might require long term care? As unpleasant as it might be to think about, it is a possibility you should plan for.

By 2030, approximately 24 million people in the US could require some form of long-term care. The cost of long-term care, on the other hand, keeps rising to unaffordable levels. A survey conducted by Genworth in 2019 revealed that the annual cost of a private room in a long-term care facility can be as much as $100,000. Home health aide and homemaker services can be just as expensive – costing up to $50,000 per year.

Reasons behind the Rising Costs of Long-Term Care

Many reasons can be attributed towards the skyrocketing costs of long-term care in the country. The shortage of skilled and trained caregivers is said to be among the main reasons. Experts say that the long-term care industry is understaffed and might not be able to meet the rising demand for high-quality home care and assisted living care services.

The rapidly growing population of older adults in the country – currently estimated at 55 million – has also resulted in a massive increase in demand for long-term care. Data shows that every day, 10,000 people in the US turn 65. Among these, at least 7 out of 10 might require long-term care.

Moreover, an increasingly large number of older adults in the country have at least one chronic condition and the level, quality, and complexity of care required for these people has also increased substantially in the recent past. As a result, the cost of long-term care services across the country has become prohibitively expensive.

With this being the case, it is important for you to include long-term care planning into your estate plan. How do you do that? Let us take a look.

Steps to Take for Long-Term Care Planning

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance policies are designed to cover the expenses associated with your care (at home or at a facility). The policy will kick in if you become physically or mentally impaired and are not able to perform what are called activities of daily living, which include bathing, toileting, dressing, eating, and moving around on your own.

Ideally, you should buy long-term care insurance between the ages of 45 and 55. The older you get, the higher your premiums will be.

Life Insurance and Annuities with Long-Term Care Riders

If you cannot afford to buy long-term care insurance, you can choose to buy life insurance with long-term care riders. Similarly, annuities with long-term care riders are also a good choice for those who cannot afford long-term care insurance.

Deferred Annuities

With deferred annuities, you can invest a sum of money upfront and receive monthly payments once you reach a certain age. While these are not specifically designed for long-term care, they can provide you with monthly payments which can help you cover the costs associated with your care – or any other expense for that matter.

Medi-Cal

Medi-Cal can be a good option for those who cannot afford privately paid care. While you cannot expect to receive the same level of care that you might receive at a private nursing home, Medi-Cal can provide you with the basic level of care – as deemed necessary by a physician.

The Medi-Cal program has strict eligibility criteria which you need to meet in order to be able to receive the benefits. An experienced estate planning attorney might be able to help you qualify for Medi-Cal without exhausting your life savings.

Trust Planning and Advance Healthcare Directives

If you have a substantial amount of assets, you can put them into a trust and make sure they are managed in such a way that you can get the funds you need for your long-term care in the future. In addition to that, creating an advance healthcare directive might also be necessary, as you need to make sure someone you trust can make healthcare decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to do so due to physical or mental incapacity.

Need to Plan for Your Long-Term Care? Our California Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help You!

The costs of long-term care can be unexpectedly high – especially if you become severely impaired as a result of a disease or chronic condition. So, it is important to plan ahead and make sure you have the resources you need to meet the costs associated with your care.

The estate planning attorneys at Garmo & Garmo have several decades of experience helping people with their estate planning and long-term care needs. We can create a comprehensive estate plan that takes your long-term care as well as other needs into account and update it as and when needed.

To find out how we can help you with your long-term care planning, call us today at 619-441-2500 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation. 

revocable trust

What is a Revocable Trust and Do I Need One?

One of the key responsibilities of life is to ensure that your wealth and assets are securely passed on to your loved ones after you’re no longer there. A revocable trust – sometimes also referred to as a revocable living trust – is an estate planning tool using which you can make sure your assets are managed and passed on to your beneficiaries exactly according to your wishes in the event of your death.

How Does a Revocable Living Trust in California Work?

A revocable trust usually involves three parties – the grantor (the party that forms the trust), the trustee (the party that manages the trust), and the beneficiaries (the parties that benefit from the trust).

Under the law, the grantor can also be the trustee, which means you can manage your own trust for as long as you want to or until you become incapacitated or die. You can designate a successor trustee, who will take over your duties and manage your trust in the event of your incapacitation or death.

Once you set up a trust, you are required to transfer your assets into it. You can choose to transfer assets in and out of your revocable living trust any time you want.

As the grantor, you have the right to decide how the assets in your trust should be managed, how the income generated from the trust’s assets should be distributed, and how the assets should be divided and passed on to your beneficiaries in the event of your death. You can amend or change the terms any time you want, for any reason.

Why You May Need a Revocable Living Trust

Avoiding Probate

The primary reason for creating a revocable living trust is to avoid probate in the event of your death. Probate is a legal procedure wherein a court-appointed executor will settle your debts (if any), pay your tax obligations (if any), and divide and distribute the rest of the assets among your beneficiaries.

The problem with probate is three-fold:

  • First, it is a public process. The information related to your estate will be entered into court records and can be accessed by the public.
  • Second, it is a time-consuming procedure. On average, it can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months for an estate to go through probate in California. If there are any legal complications, it can take much longer.
  • Third, it is expensive. California is only of the few states where probate attorneys are allowed to charge what is called a statutory fee, which is a percentage of your estate’s value. If your estate is worth $15 million or more, the attorney might charge 0.5% of the estate’s value or even more, which can be quite significant.

On the other hand, if you set up a revocable living trust, your successor trustee will step into your shoes in the event of your death and make sure your assets get distributed exactly according to your wishes – without any legal intervention from the probate court.

Avoiding Legal Intervention in the Event of Your Incapacitation

In the absence of a legally valid trust, the probate court will intervene in the event of your incapacitation and appoint a conservator to manage your assets. The person chosen by the court might not be someone you would have wanted to manage your assets.

On the other hand, a trust allows you to designate a successor, who will manage your trust exactly as per your wishes in the event of your incapacitation. You can also designate an alternative, who can manage your trust if the successor is unable or unwilling to manage the trust.

Having Control over How Your Assets Are Divided in the Event of Your Death

A revocable living trust allows you to dictate terms regarding how your assets should be managed, divided, and distributed after your death. If you want to give someone a larger share, give someone else a smaller share, remove someone as a beneficiary, or want to make sure your beneficiaries only get a share of the income generated by your assets and not inherit it outright, or impose any other kind of restrictions – you can put it all in your trust document.

Need to Set Up a Revocable Living Trust? We Can Help

If you have substantial assets, it is important for you to have an estate plan in place, failing which your estate will have to go through probate in the event of your death. At Garmo & Garmo, we have experienced estate planning attorneys who can help you make out a will, advanced healthcare directive, revocable trust, or an irrevocable trust – depending on your needs.

With over 80 years of combined experience and legal knowledge, we are well-equipped to handle all your estate planning needs. To discuss your needs with one of our lawyers, call us today at 619-441-2500 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation. 

self driving cars accidents

Who Is Liable for a Self-Driving Vehicle Accident?

Several technology companies, in collaboration with motor vehicle manufacturers, are at various phases of development and testing of self-driving vehicles. The core idea is that since human error causes most auto accidents, self-driving cars could potentially save lives.

Removing human error from the roadways is certainly an understandable endeavor. However, when self-driving vehicles are involved in crashes, the issue of legal liability for the accident remains to be determined.

Issues Automation Seeks to Avoid

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), human error is the reason for a large percentage of all vehicle accidents. Nearly 40,000 people lose their lives in vehicle accidents in the US each year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that 94 percent of auto collisions in the US occur due to human error.

There are massive economic costs to vehicle accidents, from property damages to lost productivity in the workplace. For many of these issues, self-driving cars are seen as a potential solution. However, devastating accidents involving autonomous vehicles have raised concerns regarding liability.

Who is Liable When an Autonomous Vehicle Injures People?

In a car accident under normal circumstances, California law holds the at-fault party liable for all damages and losses that they caused. When an automobile is technically driving itself, the liable parties still must be identified. Generally speaking, liability occurs due to one or more of the following issues:

Human Error

The first place an injury victim should assess is still human error. Even the most advanced technology cannot protect the public from reckless human operators if the human motorist has ultimate control of the automobile. Could the backup motorist have done something to prevent the accident? If a motorist does not remain alert while behind the wheel or misuses the technology, then that driver may be at fault for the collision. In certain accidents, another vehicle’s operator may make a mistake.

Automobile Malfunction

At times, technology simply fails. Anyone who has driven a regular vehicle knows that brakes can malfunction, engines can fail, and parts can be faulty. If a driverless automobile is being operated correctly and as designed but somehow malfunctions, then the automaker may be the liable party for any injuries that the defective vehicle caused.

Lax Government Regulations

A government regulatory body that allows self-driving vehicles to be tested on public roads may potentially be accountable for allowing experimental vehicle testing on public roadways if the testing exposes the public to an unreasonable risk of harm.

Faulty Design or Manufacturing

Sometimes the vehicle’s design is defective. For example, there have been conventional vehicles that were manufactured with centers of gravity that were too high, leading to rollover accidents. Does a self-driven vehicle have a design fault in the auto-pilot technology that the manufacturer should have recognized? Self-driving cars will raise new questions on the matter of liability.

How is Insurance Managed in Self-Driven Vehicle Accidents?

It is crucial to understand that a product’s manufacturer is still liable for what harm that product causes. Presently, there are no automobiles in use on California highways that function entirely without human assistance. A human operator still has some degree of control and responsibility for navigating an autonomous vehicle. The vehicle’s operator and manufacturer are primarily responsible for what the vehicle does, at least for the time being.

Over time, consumers should expect greater levels of autonomy, which may eventually lead to completely autonomous cars that do not require human intervention. But that is several years in the future. When society reaches that point, then the responsibility for a crash would probably shift more to the manufacturers and designers of the autonomous vehicle. Until then, the responsibility will likely be shared.

Compensation for Self-Driving Vehicle Crashes

There are various ways to collect compensation for an autonomous vehicle crash. You may be entitled to the following damages:

Medical Expenses

As an injury victim, you can seek compensation for medical expenses, including emergency room visits, doctor consultations, medical care, drugs, surgeries, and rehabilitation costs as a part of your claim.

Property Damage

Compensation for property damage includes reimbursement of repair or replacement expenses for any personal property destroyed or damaged by a self-driven vehicle.

Pain and suffering

Catastrophic injuries commonly occur in accidents that involve pedestrians. Such injuries can warrant compensation for the physical and psychological harm caused by the crash and the failure of the defendant to recognize and address the hazards.

Lost Earnings

If your injuries require you to take time off work, you can claim lost income or even future lost income (in case your injuries cause permanent impairment or disability).

Southern California Personal Injury Attorneys are Here to Help

If you have sustained a severe injury or lost a loved one due to another’s recklessness, you deserve qualified and aggressive legal representation right from the outset of your case. The law sets a time limit on how long you can wait to sue those responsible, so don’t delay seeking help. The seasoned legal team at Garmo & Garmo in La Mesa, CA stands ready to help with even the most difficult cases. Contact us today at (619) 441-2500 for a free case review.

Coronavirus Workplace Update

Coronavirus Workplace Update: July 2, 2020

Recently, the California Division of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH) sent out an email to workplaces across the State of California.  Their message?  Please ensure this … is delivered to the owner, operator or manager who is responsible for workplace safety and health. 

In the email, DOSH stressed the importance of maintaining a safe workplace to avoid the need for additional stay-at-home orders.  DOSH provided numerous links to additional resources for business owners and employees to utilize to maintain and promote a safe workplace.

Below is a copy of the entire email, with links available to the resources provided by DOSH.

This is a very unusual time, and guidance is changing very rapidly.  We will continue to monitor the latest developments surrounding COVID-19 and provide more information as it becomes available. 

Our office is currently open and taking all the necessary precautions to continue serving your legal needs safely.  If you have any questions our would like to speak to one of our attorneys, please contact our office today for a free consultation or message us online.

(View pdf version)

san diego courthouse

Criminal case status after the court reopened

Following a closure from March 17, 2020 through May 25, 2020 for all non-emergency services, the San Diego Superior Court has reopened for most business operations.  With that being said, court hearings are still limited to video or telephone conferences only. 

The court has released guidance regarding criminal procedures now that they have reopened.  Here is a summary of the most important developments:

  1. All criminal hearings after March 16, 2020 will be vacated and reset for future hearings.  All individuals will be notified of their new hearing date within 90 days of May 26, 2020.
  • All due dates for proofs of completion that were due from March 17, 2020 through May 22, 2020 (excluding some specific programs) have been extended for 90 days from May 26, 2020.  If you need to submit proof of completion to the Court, you can either mail the proof or drop it off.
  • All court-ordered program enrollment between March 17, 2020 through May 22, 2020 (excluding some specific programs) have been extended for 90 days from May 26, 2020.  All dates to enroll in court-ordered SCRAM between March 17, 2020 through May 22, 2020 have been extended for 30 days from May 26, 2020.  If you were unable to enroll in a program and need new paperwork, you will need to contact the Court.
  • If you were ordered to pay fines and fees to the Court or Court Collections, and your date was between March 17, 2020 and May 22, 2020, your date to pay is extended 45 days from May 26, 2020 to July 10, 2020.  You can pay your fine by mail or express drop box.  If your payment is due to one of the third-party payment servicers, please contact them directly (Alliance One, GC Services, Office of Revenue and Recovery).

Source:   San Diego Superior Court; 

http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/portal/page?_pageid=55,2053814&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Please visit the San Diego Superior Court website for the most up to date information. 

Each criminal case is unique and has its own facts and circumstances, so it is best to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic.  The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP are staying informed of the latest updates from the Court.  If you have questions about your specific case, please contact our office at (619) 441-2500 or send us a message.

coronavirus and family law

What is the status of my family law case during COVID-19?

As you know, the Coronavirus pandemic has turned normal life upside down, and our court system has not been immune to this.  On March 17, 2020, the Presiding Judge of the San Diego Superior Court closed all courthouses and courtrooms to the public, except for “time-sensitive, essential functions.” Since March 17, 2020, the court has released numerous updates regarding the Court and their operation. 

On April 30, 2020, the Court extended the court closure until May 22, 2020, with a reopening date of May 26, 2020.  Once the Court reopens, there will surely be additional guidance regarding the new safety measures that will be implemented to enter the courthouses. 

Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all San Diego Superior courthouses shall be authorized and restricted per San Diego Superior Court General Order No. 043020-47, as follows:

  1. Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all courthouses, courtrooms, business offices, and public areas shall be restricted at all times to judges, commissioners, court staff, persons seeking services authorized by the court, persons required to appear for scheduled hearings, and authorized personnel;
  2. Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all court proceedings, including, but not limited to, arraignments, preliminary hearings, and ex partes, shall be limited to parties, their attorneys, witnesses subpoenaed to testify or statutorily permitted to attend, and other authorized persons;
  3. The term “authorized persons” in paragraphs 1 and 2 above includes, but is not limited to, news reporters and news media representatives subject to prior approval pursuant to the procedures outlined in the California Rules of Court, the San Diego Superior Court Rules, San Diego Superior Court General Order of the Presiding Department, Order No. 010120-02, or any other application rule, order, or policy;
  4. This order does not restrict or otherwise abrogate the express and inherent authority of the Court and its judge to provide for the orderly conduct of proceedings, including the decision to permit or deny access to any courtroom or hallways adjacent to courtrooms;
  5. Social distancing of at least six (6) feet shall be enforced in all courthouses, courtrooms, business offices, and public areas to the extent possible.

However, despite the Court’s closure, some family court services are still currently available.

Family Law Services That Are Available in the San Diego Superior Court During COVID-19

  1. Initial ex parte requests for domestic violence temporary restraining orders.
  2. Requests to renew restraining orders that are expiring.
  3. Ex parte requests for emergency orders for all types of Family matters.
  4. Emergency surrogacy order requests.

Source: http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/SDCOURT/GENERALINFORMATION/FORMS/ADMINFORMS/ADM385.PDF

Additional Guidance from the Court

  1. If you have a court date (trial or other hearing) that is between March 17, 2020 and May 22, 2020, the hearing will be rescheduled and notice of the nearing hearing dates will be mailed out. The Court requests you do not physically go to the court to get more information.  If you have an attorney, reach out to your attorney.  If you do not, please refer to the Court’s website (www.sdcourt.ca.gov) for up-to-date information.
  • The San Diego Superior Court has suspended the acceptance of paper and e-File documents in the Family Law Business Office. The exception to this are paper filings related to the hearing types listed above. Filings that were submitted prior to the Court’s closure will be honored for the date they were received. Any items received after the closure will be honored for the date the Court reopens
  • All dates from March 17, 2020 to April 30, 2020, inclusive, have been deemed holidays for purposes of computing time for filing papers under Code of Civil Procedure §§ 12 and 12a.
  • All dates from March 17, 2020 to April 30, 2020, inclusive, have been deemed holidays for purposes of computing time under Code of Civil Procedure § 1167 (five (5) day period within which defendant must respond to a complain in an unlawful detainer action).
  • Any restraining order after hearing that is set to expire during the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is automatically extended for 90 days from the date of expiration to enable a protected party to seek renewal of the restraining order.

Please visit the San Diego Superior Court website for the most up to date information regarding the court.

Each family law case is different and has its own unique facts and circumstances. There are additional, special procedures that must be followed for family law services available during the Court’s closure. If you need assistance with family law services during the Court’s closure, speak to an experienced family attorney about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. The experienced family law attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP are staying informed about the latest updates from the San Diego Superior Court and are familiar with the Court’s temporary procedures.  If you have questions about your specific case, please contact our office at (619) 441-2500 or send us a message.

criminal cases during covid-19

What is the Status of My Criminal Case during COVID-19?

As you know, the Coronavirus pandemic has turned normal life upside down, and our court system has not been immune to this.  On March 17, 2020, the Presiding Judge of the San Diego Superior Court closed all courthouses and courtrooms to the public, except for “time-sensitive, essential functions.” Since March 17, 2020, the court has released numerous updates regarding the Court and their operation. 

On April 30, 2020, the Court extended the court closure until May 22, 2020, with a reopening date of May 26, 2020. Once the Court reopens, there will surely be additional guidance regarding the new safety measures that will be implemented to enter the courthouses. 

Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all San Diego Superior courthouses shall be authorized and restricted per San Diego Superior Court General Order No. 043020-47, as follows:

  1. Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all courthouses, courtrooms, business offices, and public areas shall be restricted at all times to judges, commissioners, court staff, persons seeking services authorized by the court, persons required to appear for scheduled hearings, and authorized personnel;
  2. Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all court proceedings, including, but not limited to, arraignments, preliminary hearings, and ex partes, shall be limited to parties, their attorneys, witnesses subpoenaed to testify or statutorily permitted to attend, and other authorized persons;
  3. The term “authorized persons” in paragraphs 1 and 2 above includes, but is not limited to, news reporters and news media representatives subject to prior approval pursuant to the procedures outlined in the California Rules of Court, the San Diego Superior Court Rules, San Diego Superior Court General Order of the Presiding Department, Order No. 010120-02, or any other application rule, order, or policy;
  4. This order does not restrict or otherwise abrogate the express and inherent authority of the Court and its judge to provide for the orderly conduct of proceedings, including the decision to permit or deny access to any courtroom or hallways adjacent to courtrooms;
  5. Social distancing of at least six (6) feet shall be enforced in all courthouses, courtrooms, business offices, and public areas to the extent possible.

The Court is also trying to create new options to hold various hearings via video/phone systems, but these hearings will likely be limited to “time-sensitive, essential functions,” which is a vague term used by the Court.  However, some guidance has been provided as it relates to criminal cases.  It is important to understand this is a very fluid situation, and the guidance changes frequently.  The following is provided by the Court as of May 4, 2020.

Services That May Be Provided by the San Diego Superior Court During the Covid-19 Pandemic

  1. In-custody miscellaneous criminal hearings including, but not limited to, change of plea, arraignment, and preliminary hearings, via video/audio systems.
  2. Petitions for writs of habeas corpus, including related motions and filings.
  3. Requests and orders to lower or increase bail or order pre-arraignment release on defendant’s own recognizance.
  4. Requests and orders to release from custody (pre-sentencing or in connection with revocation proceedings) pursuant to stipulation and stipulated Pen. Code § 977 waivers for preliminary hearings with defendant’s release.
  5. Probable cause determinations for persons arrested without a warrant.
  6. Search warrant requests by law enforcement.
  7. Petitions for Expungement under Penal Code § 1203.4.

Source: http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/SDCOURT/GENERALINFORMATION/FORMS/ADMINFORMS/ADM385.PDF

Additional Guidance from the Court

  1. If you have a court date (trial or other hearing) that is between March 17, 2020 and May 22, 2020, the hearing will be rescheduled and notice of the nearing hearing dates will be mailed out. The Court requests you do not physically go to the court to get more information.  If you have an attorney, reach out to your attorney.  If you do not, please refer to the Court’s website (www.sdcourt.ca.gov) for up-to-date information.

This rule generally applies to out of custody defendants. If the defendant is in-custody, different rules could apply, as discussed above. The Court has provided additional guidance regarding in-custody defendants and time-sensitive, essential functions.  The guidance can be found on the Court’s website.

  • If you have due dates for court-ordered programs that fall between March 17, 2020 and May 22, 2020, the Court has indicated they will extend these deadlines.  The Court requests you do not physically go to the court to get more information. If you have an attorney, reach out to your attorney. If you do not, please refer to the Court’s website (www.sdcourt.ca.gov) for up-to-date information.
  • All dates from March 17, 2020 to April 30, 2020, inclusive, have been deemed holidays for purposes of computing time under Penal Code § 825. Beginning May 1, 2020, the emergency holiday designation for purposes of Penal Code § 825 no longer applies.
  • The Court extends the time period in Penal Code § 825 within which a defendant charged with a felony offense must be taken before a magistrate from forty-eight (48) hours to not more than seven (7) days, applicable only to cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from May 1, 2020 to May 22, 2020, inclusive.
  • The Court extends the time period provided in Penal Code § 859b for the holding of a preliminary examination from ten (10) court days to not more than thirty (30) court days, applicable only to cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from March 17, 2020, to May 22, 2020, inclusive. (See Statewide Emergency Order by Hon. Tani Cantil-Sakauye, March 30, 2020).
  • The Court extends the time period provided in Penal Code § 1382 for the holding of a criminal trial by ninety (90) days, applicable only to cases in which the statutory deadline otherwise would expire for March 17, 2020, to June 15, 2020, inclusive.  (See Statewide Emergency Order by Hon. Tani Cantil-Sakauye, April 29, 2020).

Please visit the San Diego Superior Court website for the most up to date information regarding the court.

Each criminal case is different and has its own unique facts and circumstances, so speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP are staying informed about the latest updates from the San Diego Superior Court. If you have questions about your specific case, please contact our office at (619) 441-2500 or send us a message.

civil cases during coronavirus

What is the status of my civil case during COVID-19?

As you know, the Coronavirus pandemic has turned normal life upside down, and our court system has not been immune to this. On March 17, 2020, the Presiding Judge of the San Diego Superior Court closed all courthouses and courtrooms to the public, except for “time-sensitive, essential functions.”  Since March 17, 2020, the court has released numerous updates regarding the Court and their operation. 

On April 30, 2020, the Court extended the court closure until May 22, 2020, with a reopening date of May 26, 2020.  Once the Court reopens, there will surely be additional guidance regarding the new safety measures that will be implemented to enter the courthouses. 

Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all San Diego Superior courthouses shall be authorized and restricted per San Diego Superior Court General Order No. 043020-47, as follows:

  1. Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all courthouses, courtrooms, business offices, and public areas shall be restricted at all times to judges, commissioners, court staff, persons seeking services authorized by the court, persons required to appear for scheduled hearings, and authorized personnel;
  2. Through May 22, 2020, access to any and all court proceedings, including, but not limited to, arraignments, preliminary hearings, and ex partes, shall be limited to parties, their attorneys, witnesses subpoenaed to testify or statutorily permitted to attend, and other authorized persons;
  3. The term “authorized persons” in paragraphs 1 and 2 above includes, but is not limited to, news reporters and news media representatives subject to prior approval pursuant to the procedures outlined in the California Rules of Court, the San Diego Superior Court Rules, San Diego Superior Court General Order of the Presiding Department, Order No. 010120-02, or any other application rule, order, or policy;
  4. This order does not restrict or otherwise abrogate the express and inherent authority of the Court and its judge to provide for the orderly conduct of proceedings, including the decision to permit or deny access to any courtroom or hallways adjacent to courtrooms;
  5. Social distancing of at least six (6) feet shall be enforced in all courthouses, courtrooms, business offices, and public areas to the extent possible.

However, despite the Court’s closure, some civil court services are still currently available.

Civil Services That Are Available in the San Diego Superior Court During COVID-19

  1. Initial ex parte requests for gun violence emergency protective orders, and civil harassment, elder abuse, gun violence, workplace violence, and school violence temporary restraining orders.
  2. Requests to renew restraining orders that are expiring
  3. Emergency (ex parte) lockout proceedings in landlord-tenant disputes (Unlawful Detainer).
  4. Petitions for writs seeking emergency relief in landlord-tenant matters (Unlawful Detainer).
  5. Emergency writs challenging COVID-19 quarantines/emergency measures. •Motions for new trial pursuant to Code Civ. Proc. §§ 656 et seq.
  6. Motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict pursuant to Code Civ. Proc. § 629.
  7. Abatement warrants.
  8. Ex parte requests seeking emergency temporary restraining or protective orders of any type.
  9. Emergency ex parte hearings regarding claims of exemption.
  10. Ex parte petitions to approve compromised/disputed claims (for minors or disabled persons only).
  11. Ex parte hearings to stop utility shut-offs from occurring.
  12. Claim of right to possession in Unlawful Detainer proceedings.
  13. Acceptance of security and appeal bonds.
  14. Upon remittitur from the California Supreme Court or a California Court of Appeal, the issuance, filing, and processing of documents, including orders and judgments, to effectuate orders issued by the appellate court.
  15. The court may issue orders in cases in which the matter has been under submission and the court finds it necessary to issue and file the order in order to comply with the ninety (90) day deadline set forth by article VI, section 19 of the California Constitution.
  16. Processing final orders/judgments after hearing for matters heard prior to the closure of the court on March 17, 2020.

Source: http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/SDCOURT/GENERALINFORMATION/FORMS/ADMINFORMS/ADM385.PDF

Additional Guidance from the Court

  1. If you have a court date (trial or other hearing) that is between March 17, 2020 and May 22, 2020, the hearing will be rescheduled and notice of the nearing hearing dates will be mailed out. The Court requests you do not physically go to the court to get more information.  If you have an attorney, reach out to your attorney.  If you do not, please refer to the Court’s website (www.sdcourt.ca.gov) for up-to-date information.
  2. The San Diego Superior Court has suspended the acceptance of paper and e-File documents in the Civil Business Office. The exception to this are paper filings related to the hearing types listed above. Filings that were submitted prior to the Court’s closure will be honored for the date they were received. Any items received after the closure will be honored for the date the Court reopens
  • All dates from March 17, 2020 to April 30, 2020, inclusive, have been deemed holidays for purposes of computing time for filing papers under Code of Civil Procedure §§ 12 and 12a.
  • All dates from March 17, 2020 to April 30, 2020, inclusive, have been deemed holidays for purposes of computing time under Code of Civil Procedure § 1167 (five (5) day period within which defendant must respond to a complain in an unlawful detainer action).
  • Any restraining order after hearing that is set to expire during the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is automatically extended for 90 days from the date of expiration to enable a protected party to seek renewal of the restraining order.

Source:  http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/SDCOURT/GENERALINFORMATION/COVID-19INFO/SDSC%20GENERAL%20ORDER%20-%20THIRD%20IMPLEMENTATION%20ORDER%20043020-47.PDF

Please visit the San Diego Superior Court website for the most up to date information regarding the court. The link to the Coronavirus information page is:

http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/portal/page?_pageid=55,2053814&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Each civil case is different and has its own unique facts and circumstances. There are additional, special procedures that must be followed for civil services available during the Court’s closure. If you need assistance with civil services during the Court’s closure, speak to an experienced civil attorney about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic.  The experienced civil attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP are staying informed about the latest updates from the San Diego Superior Court and are familiar with the Court’s temporary procedures.  If you have questions about your specific case, please contact our office at (619) 441-2500 or send us a message.