Preparation is key to success in personal injury

Personal injury matters require attorneys and their clients to be fully prepared.  While a seasoned accident injury attorney should know how to prepare a case, most clients do not.  Accordingly, clear and frequent communication between the lawyer and the client is essential to a successful outcome.

One area wherein clients should be fully informed of is the discovery process initiated in the civil lawsuit.  Discovery is the legal process of finding out information from other parties and non-parties to support or defend the case.  Legal discovery has several methods, including written discovery and depositions.  Clients are required to respond to written discovery received from the other side in a timely and complete manner.  Responses include details about injuries, damages, and facts of the case.  These responses are written and verified under penalty of perjury that everything that is stated is true and correct.  Clients must live with these responses during the entirety of the litigation.  Therefore, it is vital that clients understand the need to thoroughly review each question and respond fully.  It is also vital that the attorney have a thorough understanding of the issues and facts of the case.

Depositions are extremely important.  It is worth repeating, depositions are extremely important.  Depositions take place in an informal setting, however, clients are required to answer questions under oath.  The deposition is recorded by a court reporter and everything said is preserved for eternity; therefore it is vital that clients be fully prepared to give their best testimony on the day of the deposition.  Clients will be testifying as to the details of their claims, injuries, and damages.  Clients must adhere to several “golden rules”.  First, always tell the truth.  Second, do not guess; if a client does not know the answer, they must be comfortable in telling the attorney that they do not know.  Third, answer the questions directly.  Sidestepping questions do not leave good impressions.  Prior to the deposition, clients should be informed about the deposition process and purpose.  Clients should also have a fresh recollection of the pertinent issues and facts in their case.  Unprepared clients could be detrimental to their case.

Overall, selecting counsel whom will take the time to communicate with their client and educate the client is essential to a positive outcome.