Sometimes the only way to be properly compensate for your car accident injuries is to proceed with a lawsuit. If the insurance companies involved refuse to pay you a fair and reasonable settlement, the courtroom may be your best option.
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If you do need to have your personal injury attorney proceed with your lawsuit, it is important to understand how a typical vehicle injury case may proceed.
Discovery and Depositions
The early part of a personal injury lawsuit is called the discovery phase. This is the time when your personal injury attorney and the attorney for the insurance company collect information about the car accident and who was involved. That information then is used to build a case.
A critical part of the discovery phase is taking depositions. A deposition is a Q and A session between the involved attorneys and the person who possesses information about the case. This person could be one of the people who was involved in the auto accident. It also could be a witness, or an expert, such as the physician who examined you after the accident.
All depositions are given under oath. They are transcribed by the court reporter and are eventually further transcribed into standard English.
After the deposition is over, the transcript is reviewed by each attorney. Your personal injury attorney will review the statements you made in light of how they could affect your lawsuit. You also will have a chance to review your statements with your attorney; this allows you to clarify any statement that might seem unclear or inconsistent with the accident.
It is very important to tell the truth during a deposition because you are under oath. But particular facts can be revealed during a deposition that the attorney for the insurance company tries to use against you.
For example, if you mention that your car was hit after you had just run a marathon, the other attorney may argue that you were tired and were not paying attention to the road. He also might even argue some the pain you have after the car accident is due to your extreme physical activity that day.
The Defense Medical Examination (DME)
After the deposition, it is likely that you will have to be examined in a defense medical examination. This exam is done by a hand picked, well paid doctor by the insurance company. He or she will likely attempt to minimize your injuries or pretend you do not have them.
Your attorney will prepare you for the DME. He should instruct you to not provide any more information to the doctor than necessary. Only answer the questions the doctor asks, and do not volunteer anything extra. Your own doctor will also offer a medical report about the extent and nature of your car accident injuries; this will help to provide balance to what the insurance company doctor says.
Once the discovery phase is complete, one of two things usually happen. First, if the evidence is strong on your side, the insurance company may offer to settle. Or, the insurance company may think they can win the case and proceed with the lawsuit.
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If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to retain a personal injury attorney right away. We can help you to determine if you have a strong personal injury claim or lawsuit. Please contact us today.