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For fans of true crime and courtroom dramas, it can sometimes seem as though cases move very quickly from the accidents themselves to a trial. The truth is the process of getting compensation after a car accident involves several different steps. Before the trial, your case will first go through the discovery process.

Read on to learn more about how discovery works and what to expect during this part of your path to recovery. In order to ensure that you are adequately prepared for the discovery process, it’s best that you consult with an experienced auto accident attorney.

What Is Discovery?

If the insurance company involved in your car or truck accident case isn’t offering a fair settlement or is denying coverage, and your case progresses to a lawsuit, you will go through the discovery stage before the trial itself.

Simply put, discovery is the investigation that goes on prior to the trial itself. During discovery, the attorneys for all parties involved will attempt to gather as much information as possible about the case and each other. The discovery process can be split into three parts: document requests, interrogatories, and depositions.

Car Accident Document Requests

In most cases, you will have gathered all of your relevant documents, like medical records and photographic evidence, long before your case transitions into a trial. Your attorney can help you gather all of the evidence available to support your description of events, but that doesn’t always mean your case can be resolved with a simple settlement.

Now that your case has become a lawsuit, you will have the opportunity to request the same sorts of documents from the opposing party as you gathered in your own defense. It’s important to note that your documents may also be requested, and an attorney should verify that all requests are valid. Some documents that might be shared include the following:

  • Medical records
  • Treatment bills
  • Vehicle repairs
  • The police report
  • Insurance policies
  • Photos from the scene of the crash
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Witness testimony
  • Documents that establish lost income
  • Other relevant records

Client and Counsel Interrogatories

Sometimes, there are questions following car accidents that can’t be answered using simple documentation. In these cases, your attorney or the opposing counsel may submit interrogatories: written questions regarding your claims and defense. Usually, these questions are sent to the client, but the assistance of an attorney is often required in order to ensure the best outcome.

The questions asked must be answered truthfully under oath. These questions can also extend to any eyewitnesses that saw the accident take place. It’s important that the answers to these questions are precise and accurate. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you avoid a dismissal due to positions stated in your pre-trial discovery.

Depositions

In many cases, the deposition is the most important part of the pretrial investigation. Depositions give both sides the chance to see how either party will respond to questions under pressure and under oath. This means it’s especially important that you are totally prepared prior to your deposition. You will want to give a steadfast and professional first impression:

  • Dress appropriately — don’t wear sweat pants or jeans, and make sure to attend to your hygiene and proper grooming.
  • Speak clearly — avoid nonverbal answers, as these are harder to translate into the records.
  • Review your case — sometimes these depositions can occur months after the initial accident, and many details will become fuzzy. It’s important to review your case with your attorney beforehand so that you are well prepared for your questioning.
  • Don’t memorize a script — Sounding rehearsed can hurt your chances in the long run. Any surprise questions will catch you off guard and cause you to forget your “lines.” Instead, try to be honest, precise, and forthcoming with your answers.
  • Wait to answer — don’t respond to any question until it’s fully asked, and try not to offer any more information than necessary. Remember that anything you say can be used against your case.
  • Get plenty of sleep — It’s important to be sharp and aware during the deposition so that you don’t make any mistakes.

Depositions can be intimidating, so the more prepared you are, the better! An experienced attorney will set up as much time as you need in order for you to feel ready and prepared beforehand. After all, being uncomfortable during the deposition could negatively affect your case in the long run.

Relying on Your Car Accident Attorney During the Discovery Process

Finding an attorney that’s experienced and dedicated to you and your case can make all the difference between a successful outcome and not. Contact our office today for a consultation regarding your case so that you can receive the compensation you deserve. 

If you’ve been injured in a car or truck accident in Texas, our experienced auto accident attorneys will take your case as far as necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you’re seeking compensation following a car accident injury in Texas, we can help. Reach out to Lapeze & Johns today.

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About Christopher Johns

Christopher Johns co-founded Lapeze & Johns with one thing in mind: civil justice for victims of negligence. Mr. Johns is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried over 50 cases to verdict and judgment throughout Texas, the Gulf Coast, and around the United States with a 98% success rate. His efforts throughout his time at the University of Houston Law Center and as a lawyer have garnered him many accolades, a 10.0 rating from AVVO, and Super Lawyer in Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Litigation every year since 2004. Read more about Christopher Johns here.

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