When you've been harmed by another, you have the right to seek financial compensation. In many cases, the at-fault party will attempt to form a settlement with you to avoid trial. Unfortunately, the amount offered can fall short of what is needed. When a court trial looms, you and your attorney will need to prepare. Part of the pretrial process involves discovery procedures. These tasks will illuminate your case and allow you to find out more about the other side's case. Just knowing about the process can bring comfort to some accident victims, so read on to find out what to expect during discovery and particularly during the interrogatories.
The Discovery Process
In spite of what you've seen on television, trials are not supposed to contain surprises. There should be no last-minute surprise witnesses or evidence presented in a real-life trial. Information about witnesses, evidence, test results, and more are to be passed back and forth during the discovery process. This allows the parties to be ready to refute and defend as needed. Discovery practices are based on honesty and any material or statements are done so under oath. After discovery, the court case begins. There are several working parts in the discovery process:
Deposition – This important meeting gets the testimony of all parties and witnesses recorded for later use during the trial.
Production – Here, the parties request medical records, reports, photographs, and more from the other side.
Admission – A list of facts are submitted to the other side. The facts are answered with a denial, an admission, or an objection.
Interrogatories – Written questions are submitted and answered.
Interrogatories in Detail
You can find out a lot about what the other side is planning by what happens during discovery. For example, if many of the discovery actions (as listed above) seem to focus on fault for the accident or on your medical treatment, then you and your attorney will prepare a case that zeros in on those areas. Interrogatories can be especially telling in this manner. For example, if the other side suspects that their client is not 100% liable for the accident, you might find the following questions in your interrogatory:
1. Explain how the accident happened.
2. What were you doing when the accident happened?
3. Were you using a cell phone at the time? Using your navigator? Disciplining children?
4. How fast were you going at the time of the accident?
5. Were you under the influence of prescription medicine at that time?
Any of these and similar questions will clue your attorney in that the other side is attempting to cast doubt on your claims that the accident was the other driver's fault. To find out more about this fascinating aspect of civil law, speak to your personal injury attorney.Share