Your Legal Rights at Work

Pretrial Moves That Might Benefit You

by Lewis Hamilton

When an accident leaves you hurt, unable to work and without transportation, you will need to be paid by the at-fault driver (or at least their insurance carrier). There is a process to gaining personal injury compensation and the time just prior to the trial itself is a busy one. Read on to learn not only about the what happens before a trial but how this time period could be a profitable one for you.

A time to share

In spite of the competitive and contentious aspect of court trials, there are provisions meant to help both sides approach the trial armed with information about the case. Known as discovery, these actions all involve some form of information gathering about the case with each side requesting and complying with facts about the case that might aid or affect the case in some manner. There are several ways to get this information, including some of the following:


As you may have guessed from the name, this is a series of questions about the case that are passed from one side to the other. You, with your lawyer's assistance, will answer the questions to the best of your ability and return the results to the other side within the time allowed.

A variation on this practice is when statements about the case are presented to you in written form, and you are to either confirm, deny or say you have no knowledge of the matter. Your lawyer will handle the presentation of any interrogatory items to the other side. Needless to say, the information gleaned could influence the potential for a settlement offer on both sides once certain facts come to light.

Document production

While it's referred to as document production, the bounds go well outside of mere pieces of paper. You might request and be requested to provide videos, reports, photographs, witness statements, computer files, medical reports and more. There are limits to what the other side can request, and often certain protected information can be hidden (or redacted) or there might be hearings based on the appropriateness of a given request.

The Deposition

Finally, there comes the deposition, and you will likely be playing a larger part in this form of discovery than with the others. The deposition consists of a series of meetings between the attorneys, witnesses, you and the other driver and more. These meetings are actually question and answer sessions with the deponents being sworn to tell the truth about matters pertaining to the accident and the injuries.

The information obtained in the deposition or in any of the other pretrial discovery practices might result in a settlement offer, particularly when you realize that most personal injury cases do settle outside of court. Speak to your personal injury attorney to learn more.