Following an accident on a construction site, a personal injury attorney will meet with you to determine what occurred and how this incident happened. The attorney will conduct an investigation, determine who caused or contributed to your injuries, and if appropriate bring a claim against any negligent parties. Once a claim is filed, lawyers for all parties will exchange discovery. Upon completing discovery, depositions of all parties will be conducted. Once depositions are completed, and all other discovery is complete, a trial date will be scheduled if the matter cannot be resolved by way of a settlement.
- What does discovery mean?
If your personal injury lawyer initiates a lawsuit on your behalf, before a trial, a “discovery” period occurs during which lawyers from each side exchange documentary evidence regarding the case. This includes medical records, incident/accident reports, photographs, witness information and insurance information. A document known as a “Bill of Particulars” provides details about how the case happened and describes the extent of your harm and injuries.
- What are depositions?
After discovery is exchanged, all parties to the case and any relevant witnesses, may be required to give testimony under oath. Depositions are usually done at one of the lawyers’ offices, before a stenographer who makes a record of everything that is said and provides a written transcript in Question and Answer form. Sometimes these depositions are recorded by video as well. There is no judge at a deposition and all lawyers are present with their clients. Your lawyer will meet with you before your testimony so you can feel well prepared before testifying. While it may seem easy to simply answer questions, it’s important to take preparation with your attorney seriously as there may be many types of questions lawyers are trained to ask that you are not used to answering.