What Happens After A Personal Injury Case Has Been Filed?
Understanding the discovery process in a personal injury claim
After the lawsuit is filed in the appropriate court, served on the opposing parties, and their answers have been filed, the case enters what is referred to as the “discovery phase.” During this phase, all parties, including your personal injury lawyer Odessa, request records, serve requests for production, admission and interrogatories, and take depositions.
You should be prepared for the other parties to request your past medical records in order to compare previous complaints and injuries that you may have had to your current injury. You should also be prepared to be “deposed” by opposing counsel. This simply means that you will be asked, under oath, questions by opposing counsel in the presence of a court reporter that records the questions and answers and produces them in a written transcript. Prior to your deposition, your personal injury lawyer Odessa will prepare you for the deposition so that you have an idea of what to expect. He or she will also be present at the deposition. Other parties in the case, witness, doctors, and experts might also be deposed. Depositions help the attorney know what type of information each party or witness might provide should the case go to trial.
There will also be discovery requests that you will be required to respond to with the help of your personal injury lawyer Odessa. A request for production asks you to provide copies of documents to the other party. These documents might be titles to vehicles, estimates for damages, reports, records, or other documents that opposing counsel believes will be helpful in his or her case. A request for admissions asks questions that you simply admit or deny to the best of your ability. Interrogatories are questions that the other party asks, and you answer to the best of your ability and swear or affirm they are true. The interrogatories often ask you your name, address, and other basic information as well as things such as the names of medical providers, dates of treatment, names and contact information of experts and witnesses, and your description of the accident. Your personal injury lawyer Odessa will assist you in completing all of these discovery requests and if necessary, present objections to the requests if they are irrelevant, confidential, or not permitted by law. During the discovery phase, both sides have opportunities to evaluate the strength of their case and decide whether they will take the case to trial or attempt to settle without the necessity of a trial. The discovery phase can be quite lengthy and complicated depending on variables such as location of persons to be deposed and speed at which records are obtained from providers.
The discovery phase can seem endless. But in Part 4 of this series, we will see how the information obtained during this time will be of great assistance.