The discovery process is one of the most critical steps within a personal injury case. The information exchanged, and verbal testimony during this stage can influence both parties to reach a settlement. It’s a point in the legal process that can define who’s truly liable in a personal injury case.
In this article, we will explore what happens after discovery in a personal injury case, the importance of mediation, and determine the factors that influence legal proceedings to end in a settlement or trial once the discovery process concludes.
Before the Discovery Phase
A few steps have to happen before the discovery phase in legal proceedings. First, personal injury lawyers and the defendant’s legal team will do extensive research. The injured party’s lawyer will gather as much evidence as possible regarding the extent of the injuries sustained from the accident and the evidence that should prove the accused is liable for the injury.
The defendant’s lawyer will assemble evidence to invalidate their client from all responsibility regarding the plaintiff’s personal injury. Once both parties conclude their research, each team will exchange a plea.
During the Discovery Phase
The discovery process allows the plaintiff’s legal team and the defendant’s lawyers to exchange evidence. Each team then gauges how persuasive their opponent’s evidence will be in determining liability. This step in the personal injury claim process can be a pivotal moment, as the defendant’s lawyer may realize that their client is wholly or partially liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Once each party has had time to review their opposition’s evidence, both teams can cross-examine.
Preparing for the Examination
Each lawyer will prepare their client for the next step. They will train their clients to answer questions honestly and ask for clarification before answering questions they don’t understand. Furthermore, attorneys work with their clients to ensure that they refrain from answering anything that their lawyers object to.
Preparation for the cross-examination can take days or even weeks. This ensures that the client has practiced and can be fully prepared for questions about the evidence gathered, their injuries, and any other important details.
At the Examination
The plaintiff’s team will start by asking questions that highlight the defendant’s negligence which resulted in the victim’s injuries. Often, these questions are designed to reveal the defendant’s liability.
In turn, the defendant’s lawyer will ask questions that attempt to establish that the plaintiff’s injuries aren’t lowering their quality of life. The goal of the defendant’s lawyers is to create a narrative that the victim is responsible for their injuries. Their objective may also be to mitigate their client’s liability. At Bergeron Clifford, we support our clients every step of the way throughout the process. Your lawyer from our team will be with you throughout the preparation and examination phases.
Gathering More Information
Obtaining as much information as possible is necessary to reinforce the plaintiff’s and defendant’s arguments. This can include gathering witness testimony, CCTV footage, police reports, and more.
Gathering more data is crucial if one party decides to go to trial. At our firm, we prepare all of our cases as if they were going to trial. This is not the norm, as other lawyers may recommend that a failed trial can have serious consequences. For example, if the plaintiff loses their case, they receive no compensation. On the other hand, if the defendant loses, they must pay the plaintiff the compensation they asked for. This can be substantially more than a potential settlement. We ensure that our clients feel confident in our abilities to secure them fair compensation, regardless of the process it takes to achieve.
Working with Experts
There’s a possibility that an expert witness may be required to provide testimony on behalf of one of the parties to increase the chances of an outcome in their favour. Examples include:
- Motor vehicle experts identifying the integrity of car parts in an automobile accident.
- Engineers providing their opinion on roller coaster safety precautions in an amusement park injury.
- Ballistic experts examining the craftsmanship of firearms and bullets if a gun malfunctions.
There are various situations that can require the help of an expert witness testimony. The plaintiff or defendant’s lawyer will suggest hiring one of these individuals if their case would benefit from what they have to say.
Preparing for Mediation
The mediation phase directly follows after discovery in a personal injury case. It allows an opportunity for both parties to reach an agreement and settle. The plaintiff and defendant will both agree on who should be the mediator before this process begins. The mediator’s role is to listen to each party’s argument and solve potential disagreements.
The goal of mediation is to reach a fair settlement. If the plaintiff and defendant can’t agree to settle, then the personal injury case will likely proceed with going to trial. However, it’s important to remember that both parties can agree to settle at any point in the personal injury process.
Determining a Settlement or Trial
The plaintiff or defendant may refuse to cooperate, making a trial inevitable. However, parties that rush for a trial can potentially be ill-prepared and lose the case. At Bergeron Clifford, we help ensure you are aware of the options available to you, whether that be settling or going to trial. Our knowledge and experience give us the insights needed regarding which choice will work out better for our clients.
Working with a Seasoned Legal Team
Bergeron Clifford is staffed with numerous legal professionals, including personal injury lawyers with a successful track record in and out of court. We care about our clients and take the time to work with them throughout their cases so they can make informed decisions on how to move forward.
Our attorneys are seasoned in several practice areas, including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, insurance denials, and wrongful death. We understand that the circumstances that led to your injury may be traumatic.. Our team is here for you every step of the way, supporting you as needed.
If you or a loved one has experienced a personal injury or suspects that someone’s negligent behaviour caused your accident, contact us, and we will get started securing the fair compensation you deserve.