If you have been injured because of another person's negligence, you may well end up having to file suit in court to get fair compensation. The personal injury process can be long, and dealing with court calendars and the schedules of busy attorneys and other parties can make for an agonizing wait for justice. Personal injury cases do tend to progress in a fairly orderly manner, however, and it might help for you to gain an understanding of the steps necessary. One of the most important personal injury steps happens before the trial even begins. Read on to learn more about the discovery process.
Information is Key
If you've ever watched a court case unfold on television, you may have noticed that one of the most exciting aspects of the case is the potential for anything unusual to occur. You watch for the surprise witness, the last minute piece of important evidence to be presented and other surprises that have the potential to change the course of the trial. Most people don't realize that surprises during court are most definitely not welcome, no matter what side you are on.
In fact, one of the most unique and most easily misunderstood features of the American justice system is the pretrial disclosure of important evidence and information. It may seem strange, but the discovery process not just allows, but demands that both parties share information pertaining to the case ahead of the beginning of the trial. There are 3 main categories of information that is to be shared.
1. Document production: This category pertains to any and all documents that are even tangentially related to the case at hand. For example, in a personal injury case the documents shared may be medical records, accident and police reports, witness statements and more. It should be noted that the word "document" can be extended to cover computerized files as well.
2. Interrogatories: This category of discovery covers the back and forth of actual written questionnaires and they can be served on any party having interest in the law suit. Be sure to work closely with your personal injury attorney when answering these questionnaires.
3. Deposition: This process takes the interrogatory process a step further and consists of recorded interviews with all parties. You, the other driver, witnesses, ambulance personnel and more could be subpoenaed to attend this legal meeting to answer questions under oath. You can get a taste of what the actual trial will be like from the deposition experience.
It's important to note that the vast majority of lawsuits are settled outside of court and a settlement offer can come at any time, but many come as a result of the discovery process. Speak to your attorney about this and other aspects of your personal injury trial. If you haven't decided on an attorney yet, check out the sites of local personal injury attorneys.Share