While most personal injury claims settle before they ever reach a courtroom, there are exceptions. Roughly 5% of personal injury cases do go to court, and if yours is one of them, you’ll want to be familiar with the discovery process.
If you have suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence and you’re wondering if you’re entitled to compensation, let us help. Call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151 to set up a consultation and discuss your options.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is part of the pre-trial preparation process. This allows both sides to gather all the information and evidence they need to build their case. This often involves requesting information or documentation from the other side, from proof of the accident to evidence of damages. Depending on the circumstances of the case, your lawyer may use some or all of these discovery tools to build the most solid case possible.
Through interrogatories, attorneys on both sides can get a thorough understanding of what happened. One side provides the other party with a list of written questions. The other party must respond to these questions honestly and fully. Some of the topics that might be covered in an interrogatory include:
- Retelling of the accident
- Information about witnesses and expert witnesses who will be called in
- Information regarding other people who may be responsible for the accident
- Information on damages
- Insurance coverage information
While an individual’s answers are helpful, you also need concrete evidence to build a claim. That’s why lawyers request a wide range of documents to prove or disprove certain claims and allegations. During this stage of the discovery process, attorneys may request medical bills, medical records, repair estimates, police reports, photographic evidence of the crime scene, and paystubs showing time spent away from work. All of this evidence goes to highlight the severity of the accident and the damages suffered by victims.
Request for Admissions
The more evidence you have, the easier it is to build a clear understanding of what actually happened in the accident. As your attorney starts to get a picture of what occurred, they’ll be able to narrow down specific allegations against the other party. During the request for admissions, the attorneys give a list of allegations to the other side. The other side is requested to admit or deny each claim. This can help your attorney focus on disputed claims, rather than spending time and energy on admitted claims.
Depositions require parties involved in the case and witnesses to answer questions under oath. Depositions are recorded either via a court reporter or on video. The answers gained during a deposition can help your attorney focus their case even more.
Even if your case goes through the discovery process, you may still never see the inside of a courtroom. Personal injury cases can settle at any time, and in fact, the discovery process often brings truths to light that make it more appealing for the other side to settle. The discovery process can often be used to push the other side to settle, even if they initially resisted it.
Benefits of an Attorney
Hiring the right attorney during your personal injury claim can help you feel more confident and supported during this process. Discovery can be time-consuming and nerve-racking, but if you have an attorney with substantial experience and a knack for putting insurance companies on the spot, you’ll know that your claim is in good hands.
This is particularly important when you have a claim that has failed to settle during negotiations. This often indicates an insurance company with strong evidence or a vested interest in keeping you from getting full and fair compensation. When this is the case and you risk losing everything, you need an attorney who knows exactly what pieces of evidence to look for, what strengths the other side has, and what it will take to get a fair settlement for you.
Find Out How Reeves & Mestayer Can Help
If you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t be left holding the financial burden on your own. A personal injury claim may help you get the compensation you are entitled to. To talk about your case in greater detail and make a plan, call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151 or contact us online.