Once litigation relating to an accident takes place, it will be necessary for the attorney for the injured party to participate in civil discovery, such as written questions, document production and oral depositions relating to questions as to the injured party’s background, as to how the accident happened and as to their damages. In addition, litigation can include the injured party being examined by an independent physician. Litigation can also include the pursuit of witnesses, surveillance and gathering of other evidence. Further, pre-trial hearings can take place involving the suppression or compulsion of evidence, as well as other hearings regarding scheduling and claim resolution.
While the vast majority of accident claims do not go to trial, sometimes it is necessary to proceed forward to trial due to the insurance carrier’s refusal to pay a fair amount which compensates the accident victim. Often there is a decision made by the insurance carrier not to pay on an accident claim or not to pay a fair amount on an accident claim. When this occurs, an attorney representing an accident victim has no choice but to proceed forward to trial. If a trial takes place, a trial is won not only in the courtroom but also in the attorney’s office preparing for a trial.
It is critical, before an accident victim takes the stand before a judge or jury, that the accident victim is properly prepared as to what to expect at trial. Issues relating to how the accident happened, specifically what happened to the accident victim’s body during the accident, past medical conditions of the accident victim, treatment and recovery time, as well as associated pain and suffering are all relevant to litigation. Trial preparation is singularly the most important aspect of winning a trial. Knowledge of a file by an accident victim, specifically knowledge of relevant medical documentation and knowledge of past statements is very important to proper testimony by the accident victim when he or she takes the stand. There should be no surprises as to what the opposing counsel will ask, or as to what document the opposing counsel will show an accident victim when he or she is on the stand.