Once a complaint has been filed with the court of jurisdiction for a car accident litigation lawsuit, a Case Scheduling Order is issued setting out specific dates for deadlines for discovery, hearings, and a date for trial. It is important to abide by the dates on the case scheduling order. Once the discovery process has completed, a case then should proceed to trial, not before. If the time for trial arrives and there is material evidence still being discovered, then a motion for a continuance should be filed and sought to move the trial date.
Once a case is ready to proceed with a trial on the facts, law or both; then a Notice of Trial is to be served upon the other party according to the timeline set out in the local court rules for the court having jurisdiction over the case.
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Washington Civil Rule 40: Assignment of Cases
(a) Notice of trial — Note of issue.
(1) Of fact. At any time after the issues of fact are completed in any case by the service of complaint and answer or reply when necessary, as herein provided, either party may cause the issues of fact to be brought on for trial, by serving upon the opposite party a notice of trial at least 3 days before any day provided by rules of court for setting causes for trial, which notice shall give the title of the cause as in the pleadings, and notify the opposite party that the issues in such action will be brought on for trial at the time set by the court; and the party giving such notice of trial shall, at least 5 days before the day of setting such causes for trial, file with the clerk of the court a note of issue containing the title of the action, the names of the attorneys and the date when the last pleading was served; and the clerk shall thereupon enter the cause upon the trial docket according to the date of the issue.
(2) Of law. In case an issue of law raised upon the pleadings is desired to be brought on for argument, either party shall, at least 5 days before the day set apart by the court under its rules for hearing issues of law, serve upon the opposite party a like notice of trial and furnish the clerk of the court with a note of issue as above provided, which note of issue shall specify that the issue to be tried is an issue of law; and the clerk of the court shall thereupon enter such action upon the motion docket of the court.
(3) Adjournments. When a cause has once been placed upon either docket of the court, if not tried or argued at the time for which notice was given, it need not be noticed for a subsequent session or day, but shall remain upon the docket from session to session or from law day to law day until final disposition or stricken off by the court.
(4) Filing note by opposite party. The party upon whom notice of trial is served may file the note of issue and cause the action to be placed upon the calendar without further notice by the served party.
(5) Issue may be brought to trial by either party. Either party, after the notice of trial, whether given by either party, may bring the issue to trial, and in the absence of the adverse party, unless the court for good cause otherwise directs, may proceed with the case, and take a dismissal of the action, or a verdict or judgment, as the case may require.
(b) Methods. Each superior court may provide by local rule for placing of actions upon the trial calendar (1) without request of the parties or (2) upon request of a party and notice to the other parties or (3) in such other manner as the court deems expedient.
(c) Preferences. In setting cases for trial, unless otherwise provided by statute, preference shall be given to criminal over civil cases, and cases where the defendant or a witness is in confinement shall have preference over other cases.
(d) Trials. When a cause is set and called for trial, it shall be tried or dismissed, unless good cause is shown for a continuance. The court may in a proper case, and upon terms, reset the same.
(e) Continuances. A motion to continue a trial on the ground of the absence of evidence shall only be made upon affidavit showing the materiality of the evidence expected to be obtained, and that due diligence has been used to procure it, and also the name and address of the witness or witnesses. The court may also require the moving party to state upon affidavit the evidence which he expects to obtain; and if the adverse party admits that such evidence would be given, and that it be considered as actually given on the trial, or offered and overruled as improper, the trial shall not be continued. The court, upon its allowance of the motion, may impose terms or conditions upon the moving party.
(f) Change of judge. Any right under RCW 4.12.050 to seek disqualification of a judge will be deemed waived unless, in addition to the limitations in the statute, the motion and affidavit is filed with the court no later than thirty days prior to trial before a pre-assigned judge. For purposes of this rule, “trial” includes any review or appeal from an administrative body. If a case is reassigned to a different judge less than forty days prior to trial, a party may then move for a change of judge within ten days of such reassignment, unless the moving party has previously made such a motion.
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