Preparing for a Personal Injury Trial
When you suffer an injury because of an accident caused by another's negligence, your world is turned upside down, and you're plunged into a world you've only seen on TV. Words you typically hear from famous actors on Law & Order and other legal shows with dramatic courtroom sets become part of your new reality. While real life is not as dramatic as you see on TV, it's often easy to get lost in the legal jargon.
A skilled Dallas personal injury lawyer can assist you in navigating the legal process you'll be going through, beginning with one of the most crucial phases of any case: the deposition. Understanding what to expect in each step of your personal injury case can make a world of difference in your case.
In a Texas personal injury case, "discovery" refers to the pretrial process of exchanging information and evidence between the parties involved in the case so that all parties are on the same page before the court date. The discovery process can include the exchange of documents, including:
- Written questions (interrogatories)
- Requests for admission
- Requests for the production of documentation or evidence
- Independent medical examinations
- Depositions (where a witness is questioned under oath)
The purpose of discovery is to allow both parties to gather information about the case, identify witnesses, and build their respective cases. It is an important part of the litigation process and is meant to help both parties fully understand all case-related facts and issues.
A personal injury attorney in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex can explain each of the above discovery processes in more detail as they relate to your personal injury case and help with other personal injury trial preparations.
A deposition is one of the key phases of the discovery process. In a Texas personal injury case, a deposition is a formal, out-of-court statement given under oath by a witness or party to the case.
Depositions in Texas are typically conducted in an attorney's office or their conference room, but they can also be conducted by telephone or in writing, and a court reporter or videographer records them. They present you with an opportunity to tell your version of events during a personal injury case.
During a deposition, you will be questioned by an attorney for the opposing side. The attorney will ask you a series of questions, and you must give your answers under oath.
Your Dallas personal injury lawyer can also use the deposition to gather information about the facts of the case, the witness's or party's knowledge of the events, and the witness's or party's credibility. The answers that the witness or party gives during a deposition can be used as evidence in the trial.
Additionally, a deposition can be used to impeach a witness if they give a different testimony in court.
In personal injury cases, depositions are important tools for your attorney, as they allow them to develop the evidence they need to prove the injury, negligence, and damages. Depositions can also be used to establish the defendant's liability as well as to identify and discredit any counterarguments that the defense has.
Your personal injury attorney is responsible for preparing you for your deposition, including a list of potential questions. The purpose of these questions is to reveal as many details as possible regarding the accident, your injuries, and damages.
You can expect to be sworn in at the start of your Texas personal injury deposition; then, you'll confirm your identity and other background details. Once the questioning begins, you should expect questions about the following:
- Details regarding the incident or accident from which your injury resulted
- The injury/injuries you sustained (physical and/or emotional) and the medical care you've required
- The names of your treating physician and medical providers
- The severity and implications of your symptoms
- The actual financial costs, such as lost income and medical expenses, incurred in relation to your injuries and the accident
- Details regarding how your life has been affected since the accident
- Any prior statements or written communications you've made related to the case
It's important to note that you have a right to object to questions that you deem overly burdensome, irrelevant, or privileged. Your attorney can also object to any improper or irrelevant questions on your behalf.
Some depositions last for hours, depending on the complexity of your case. You are going to be under intense pressure. It's common to be nervous, but no matter what, try to stay focused, keep your cool, and answer the questions truthfully and as clearly as possible. Don't forget that you have experienced trial lawyers from The Francis Firm who can help you answer hard questions or object to questions that aren't right.
A successful deposition can be especially useful at trial. If you believe your personal injury case will go to trial, contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas-Fort Worth immediately.
Depositions can be complex and overwhelming, and the depositions that set up your case for success are those you are well prepared for. A good lawyer can help create a personal injury trial preparation checklist to guide you so you can confidently handle the deposition. At the Francis Firm, we understand how to support you in giving the best possible deposition to strengthen your injury case. To learn more about depositions, the Texas statute of limitations, and how our attorneys can help, contact us online to schedule your free consultation.