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Published On: Mon, Aug 14th, 2017

What Does The Process Of Fact-Finding In Personal Injury Entail?

The best-case scenario of the court process is that by the time a case goes to trial, there should be as few surprises as possible. In 1940, new laws were set in motion that required that all facts, documents, and anything related to the court case be revealed before the case went before a judge. Mandated by the federal government, the process of “discovery” is required in every lawsuit. There are three different types of discovery forms that are required prior to entering the courtroom in Galveston. They are written discovery, depositions, and document production.

photo/Claim Accident Services


What are the written discovery interrogatories and requests that are required?

Interrogatories are when the people in a court case are required to answer questions related to the events of any lawsuit. They can either be pre-printed forms, or they can be specific questions about the particulars of your individual case. A personal injury attorney’s job during the interrogation is to listen to the question and determine whether it is a fair question to be asked and if it is one that the person can understand. If they feel that it is a leading question or will incriminate you, then they have the right to object to it being answered.

Other interrogatory procedures are to ask for an admission. This is when an individual is asked to either deny or admit that certain facts within a case are true or false. The person who is asked to answer the question has a legal obligation to tell the truth. If they do not, then they may be held liable for penalties.

The presentation of documents

Any written documents that pertain to the case must be submitted during the discovery phase. Each side of the case is allowed to request documentation that can be called into question or is arguable. In personal injury cases in Galveston, the majority of documentation will be medical records and physician’s statements.

Depositions

Depositions are any sworn statements from a person who is testifying under oath. They are recorded by a court reporter, and the questions are asked by the personal injury attorney for the defense or the plaintiff. The depositions can sometimes be short or can span over months or more. The reason for a deposition is typically threefold: the attorney wishes to get an individual’s recount on record for proof, they want the story that will be given in court so that they can practice scenarios that will arise when the case goes to trial, or they want to compare other witness accounts.

If your Galveston personal injury lawyer allows you to be deposed, there are two things that you have to remember not to do. The first is that you shouldn’t ever “guess” the purpose or intention of any event or action. Even if you do have an opinion, “I don’t know” should be your answer if you are asked to guess or voice what you “think.”

Second, resist the temptation to explain. When being deposed, it is your job to state the facts only. Don’t try to explain why something happened or why you did something. It is often an impulse to plead your case or explain why something happened, but that isn’t your job. That is what the lawsuit is supposed to sort through. Anything that you say in your deposition can and will be used against you, if possible.

It also goes without saying that you should never say anything that isn’t true. Lying isn’t going to help your personal injury lawsuit. In fact, whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, lying will never do anything but hurt your case. It is alright to leave out things that have not been questioned, but you do not ever want to say something that isn’t true. You could be opening yourself up to prosecution since depositions are “sworn” statements and you have taken an oath to be honest.

Discovery is the process of any personal injury case where both sides present their evidence to the other so that there aren’t any surprises when the case goes to trial. When there are surprises, it only lengthens the case’s resolution, and if you don’t disclose all the evidence you have, you could get yourself into trouble. If you are involved in a personal injury suit, contact a Galveston personal injury lawyer to evaluate your case to ensure you are protected.

Author: Ben Obirek

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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