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What Goes On During the Discovery Phase of a Personal Injury Case?

May 18, 2017

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Many people who file personal injury lawsuits think only of an eventual trial. You envision a television lawyer pacing and firing questions to break down a witness for a dramatic revelation. But most of the work comes before the trial, in the discovery phase. This is when each side learns what the other side knows, and it often leads to a settlement when information emerges. For personal injury cases, you usually have 300 days to complete the process. An experienced attorney will work with you to help you prepare the most effective discovery process and responses.

Documents

Requests for documents represent a key element of the discovery process. Each side requests and exchanges documents like medical reports, property damage estimates and bills, and accident reports. They also include work records so you can demonstrate lost time and wages. You will need to make sure you keep any paperwork that helps determine damages.

Written Questions

Written discovery also plays a part in the discovery process. Your attorney will draft interrogatories and requests for admission to the other party that can help narrow down which facts are in dispute and which facts may need to be determined at trial. He or she will also help you respond to such requests from the other party and avoid traps the opposing attorney will set for you.

Depositions

Finally, the attorneys may take depositions from you and other key witnesses, especially experts who plan to testify at trial. This is a formal interview under oath and gives the attorney a chance both to learn information and get a sense of how witnesses will respond to questioning. In a personal injury trial, how witnesses appear to a jury matters as much as what they say; depositions give the lawyers a chance to see whether witnesses will appear honest and credible to a jury.

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, presenting evidence well before the trial can make all the difference. If you have been injured through someone else's negligence, contact Stern and Stern today. We will give you the guidance and representation you need.