If you have suffered injuries in a car accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim for damages. In some instances, however, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not admit fault for the accident, or they may not be willing to offer you full and fair compensation for your injuries. In either case, your lawyer can file a car accident lawsuit in court. This begins the litigation phase of the case. Contact our car accident lawyer to get the compensation you deserve.
Once the case is in litigation, the parties will engage in a process known as discovery. During the discovery process, the at-fault driver’s lawyer may question the accident victim. A Questioning is an opportunity for the defence lawyer to ask the accident victim questions about how the collision happened, the injuries they suffered, and the direct consequences of those injuries on their life.
After discovery, the defence lawyer will usually report back to their insurance company adjuster about how the deposition went. At that juncture, the insurance company adjuster may reevaluate the case and offer more money to resolve the case or may decide to further litigate.
The decision about whether to increase a settlement offer will typically depend on the information that the defence lawyer learned at the deposition—such as whether the accident victim cannot do certain things because of their injuries or whether the accident victim had to switch jobs because they can no longer perform certain duties and because the accident victim presented as credible, likeable and believable. In short, a discovery deposition might put the insurance company in a better position to offer more settlement money on the personal injury claim depending on the information obtained.
If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that someone else caused, you should have a knowledgeable injury lawyer on your side advocating for you every step of the way. If litigation becomes necessary, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the Alberta court system on your behalf and assist you throughout every stage of the litigation process, including discovery.
If a defence lawyer requests your discovery deposition, your lawyer will ready you for the questioning and ensure you know what questions the defence lawyer will likely ask. Finally, your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize the monetary compensation you recover as part of a settlement or litigation in your car accident claim.
Eligibility to File a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit in the First Place
Whenever a person suffers injuries in a car accident, they might be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary damages under certain circumstances. To recover damages after a car accident, the accident victim will need to satisfy their legal burden of proof.
Specifically, they must show that the at-fault driver behaved negligently under the circumstances. In other words, they must have violated a traffic law, engaged in careless or distracted driving, or otherwise acted in an unreasonable manner under the circumstances. Moreover, to recover money damages, the accident victim must demonstrate that they suffered at least one injury in their car crash and that the injury directly resulted from the accident.
Accident victims who can demonstrate these legal elements can pursue a monetary recovery. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area will help you prove the legal elements of your claim to recover damages.
If the insurance company refuses to compensate you adequately for everything you went through, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a prompt conclusion in the Alberta court system.
Events That Take Place in a Car Accident Case Directly Before a Discovery
Before a deposition even takes place in your car accident case, several important events must occur. First of all, your lawyer must file a lawsuit in the court system—typically against the negligent driver who caused the car crash.
There are several circumstances where a lawyer may file a lawsuit in the court system following a motor vehicle collision.
First of all, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might deny liability in the case. In other words, the insurance company must allege that the other driver was not at fault for the accident.
At other times, the accident victim’s lawyer might file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if that driver’s insurance company significantly undervalues the claim. In other words, the insurance company may not be willing to offer what the accident victim believes to be full and fair compensation for their injuries.
Whenever the accident victim’s lawyer files a lawsuit in the court system, this begins the litigation stage of the case. The court will typically establish a scheduling order that outlines deadlines for certain important events. One of these deadlines is usually a discovery deadline. Discovery consists of two parts: written discovery and oral discovery.
Written discovery typically includes written questions, called interrogatories, that each party drafts and sends to the other side. Interrogatories are questions that relate to how the accident occurred, the injuries that the accident victim suffered, a treatment that the accident victim underwent, and the permanent effects of the accident victim’s injuries, if any.
In addition to answering interrogatories, the parties will typically exchange important producible documents related to the case. For example, the accident victim will typically submit copies of all of their lost wage documentation, any police reports without privileged information, medical records, etc.
As part of oral discovery in a car accident case, the defendant’s lawyer will typically schedule the accident victim’s out-of-court oral discovery. A discovery is an opportunity for the defence lawyer to question the accident victim in person and find out more about their version of the case. It is essentially the interrogatory questions in more detail.
Since the accident victim is the plaintiff in a car accident case, they must submit to a deposition if the defence lawyer schedules it. Otherwise, the defence lawyer can seek court intervention.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident and need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in your case, an experienced injury lawyer can do that for you. Our legal team will make sure you provide complete discovery responses and you are ready for your oral discovery deposition, should the defence lawyer want to take it.
Topics that a Defence Lawyer May Focus on in a Car Accident Discovery Discovery
The purpose of a discovery deposition in a car accident case is for the defence lawyer to find out more about the accident victim’s version of the case. The questions during the deposition will typically focus on how the accident happened, the injuries that the accident victim sustained, the medical treatment that the accident victim received for their injuries, and the permanent after-effects of the car accident and resulting injuries.
While it is difficult to predict the exact questions and topics that a questioning lawyer will focus on, some of the most common include:
- Biographical information about the accident victim
- Information about the accident victim’s educational background
- Whether the accident victim ever filed a personal injury claim or lawsuit in the past
- Details about how the motor vehicle accident occurred, including the positions of the vehicles
- The colors of traffic signals in the case of a traffic intersection accident
- The way that the accident victim’s body moved inside the car at the time of impact
- The injuries that the accident victim sustained in the collision
- Medical providers who treated the accident victim for their injuries
- The events that occurred at medical appointments, including physical therapy sessions
- The length of time that the accident victim treated for their injuries
- Whether the medical treatment helped to make the accident victim feel better
- Whether the accident victim suffered a permanent injury
- Whether the accident victim cannot do certain activities following their accident
- Whether the accident victim still experiences pain
- Whether the accident victim continues to take medication for their symptoms
- Whether the accident victim suffers certain limitations in their daily, recreational, and social activities as a result of injuries which they suffered in their accident
- Any inconsistencies in the information on hand
What Damages Can I Recover Post-discovery in a Car Accident Claim?
Once a discovery deposition takes place in a car accident case, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will have an opportunity to reevaluate it and ascertain its true value. During this stage of the case, you want to have a knowledgeable car accident lawyer negotiating on your behalf and working to maximize the compensation you recover in your case.
The damages that a car accident victim can recover can depend on the nature and extent of the injuries they suffered. Not all car accident injuries are the same, and some injuries require far more treatment and rehabilitation than others, prolonging a victim’s pain and suffering.
Potential injuries in car accidents can include traumatic head and brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries, to name a few. The damages that a car accident victim ultimately recovers will depend on the impact of the injury on their lives, along with the severity of their injuries and whether any were permanent.
A deposition can often shed light on the true severity of a car accident victim’s injuries. It can also inform the defence lawyer about activities that the accident victim can no longer do because of their injuries, and personal and daily living tasks that are more difficult to accomplish following the accident (such as activities which the person does with pain). During their Questioning testimony, a car accident victim can describe the overall impact that the collision had on their lives and well-being.
The accident victim might be eligible to recover lost wage compensation. Victims of serious car accidents that result in permanent injuries can also be eligible to recover non-economic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for their physical pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of spousal companionship. All of those damages are compensable as part of a serious car accident lawsuit or claim.
Throughout your car accident claim, and most especially after completing your questioning, a knowledgeable lawyer can zealously advocate for your right to recover monetary compensation for all of your accident-related injuries. That injury lawyer can highlight the strengths of your deposition testimony while downplaying any potential weaknesses and work to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
Options if Your Car Accident Case Does Not Settle After a Deposition
If an injured party’s car accident case does not settle after a deposition, they have several legal options that are available to them. The first option is to take the case to a mediation or similar alternative dispute resolution mechanism. Alberta has mandatory ADR, which means these mechanisms must be tried before trial. If that fails, trial is the last resort.
At a mediation hearing, the mediator who is handling the case will help facilitate meaningful settlement discussions between the parties to try and bring them closer to a resolution. At arbitration, the parties will testify and present evidence before a neutral arbitrator assigned to the case. The arbitrator will then decide what, if any, damages to award the accident victim for their injuries. At a trial, the judge decides the outcome of all disputed issues—including whether or not to award damages to the accident victim in the case.
Your skilled legal team can help you pursue an increased settlement offer after your deposition. If that does not happen, they can help you bring your case to a prompt and favourable conclusion at trial, mediation, or arbitration.
Talk With a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit as part of your car accident claim, your skilled legal team can assist you throughout the entire process. Your legal team can file the lawsuit on your behalf in the court system and assist you throughout litigation—including preparing for and attending your discovery deposition. They will make sure you present the best possible testimony at your discovery proceeding, increasing your chances of recovering favorable monetary compensation in your case.
Once your questioning is complete, they can continue settlement negotiations with the insurance company to pursue an increased settlement offer. If the case does not resolve, they may litigate it at trial, mediation, or binding arbitration. Contact a car accident lawyer to help you fight to recover fully.