What Happens During Discovery in a Truck Accident Case?

What Happens During Discovery in a Truck Accident Case?If you have been injured in a truck accident, you and your attorney may decide that the best legal option is for you to take your case to trial. After reaching this decision, you are most likely thinking about going before the judge to present your side of the story.

While this is something that you should think about and prepare for, one of the most important parts of the legal process is often overlooked or forgotten about, which is the discovery phase of a truck accident case.

What is the discovery phase in a truck accident case?

When you file a truck accident lawsuit against a truck driver or trucking company, you will go through a few different stages of the legal process before you make it to trial. One of the stages is called the discovery phase, which is where both parties have the opportunity to discover what types of evidence that one another is using to back up their sides of the case. Therefore, if you are the plaintiff, this means that you will use this time to find evidence to show that the defendant’s negligence caused your accident. However, you must keep in mind that the defendant will also be using this time to prove that you played a role in the accident and were partially at fault.

Once both parties have the evidence that they need to prove their claims, they will use the discovery phase to share the evidence that they gathered. This ensures that neither the defendant or plaintiff are blindsided or surprised by new evidence presented during the middle of the trial. It also gives the legal teams for both parties the chance to learn what the opposing team plans to use against their client during trial, which allows them to prepare an argument in response.

What kind of evidence is collected during the discovery phase of a truck accident case?

There are different kinds of evidence that are usually collected during the discovery phase of a truck accident case, including:

  • Depositions: A deposition is an interview that is typically held in your attorney’s office. At this interview, you will be asked questions by the defendant’s legal team while a court reporter types everything you say. While this is not a trial, you are still required to be as honest as you are under oath. Your attorney will prepare you ahead of time for the potential questions that could be asked during the deposition. While they do not know the exact questions that will be asked, they do have a general idea because the goal of these questions is to help the opposing team learn what you plan to say or use against them during the trial.
  • Documents: The defendant’s legal team will likely ask for the important and relevant documents that you plan to use to present your case. This may be video footage, photographs, medical bills, police reports, auto mechanic estimate costs, pay stubs, and more.
  • Interrogatories: Interrogatories are questions that both parties can send to one another. When you or your attorney receive these questions, you will be required to truthfully answer them under oath. According to the law in Virginia, each party is only allowed to send a maximum of 30 interrogatories. These questions may be about your car insurance information, eyewitnesses, whether you were drunk or intoxicated at the time of the truck accident, whether you have been involved in an accident before, whether you have filed a lawsuit before, and more.
  • Admission of facts: The admission of facts involves asking the opposing party whether they admit or deny certain facts. For example, the defendant’s legal team may ask you to admit that your medical reports are true. Most of the time, the defendant’s legal team already knows if the information is true or false; they are just ensuring that it will be used as facts at your trial.

Can the defendant’s team access all my information about the truck accident?

After learning about the discovery process and what it entails, you might be wondering if this means that the defendant’s legal team can access all your information about the truck accident. The answer to this question is complex. Even though the defendant and plaintiff cannot secretly keep any information from one another that they plan to use in the trial, this does not mean that they can access everything. There are legal conversations and discussions that you can have with certain people regarding your accident, injuries, and case that the opposing team cannot access or know in-depth about, which include:

  • Conversations with your doctor, physician, or nurse
  • Conversations with your Richmond truck accident lawyer
  • Conversations with your spouse or other family members

How long should I expect the discovery phase to last?

The discovery phase can vary case by case. The reason for this is because some cases can be more complex than others, meaning that there is a lot of evidence to gather. In addition, the length of the discovery phase can be longer or shorter depending on how willing both parties are to cooperate with one another. You should expect the discovery phase to at least last a few months. However, it is not unusual for it to last close to one year. There are certain deadlines in place to ensure that the parties involved are meeting the requirements and accomplishing the tasks of the discovery phase within a certain time period.

The Richmond truck accident attorneys at Phelan Petty Injury Lawyers know and understand how stressful, nerve-wracking, and overwhelming each part of the pre-trial process can be. Therefore, we will do everything we can to ensure that you are prepared, comfortable, and ready at all times. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule your free case review today. Our office is located in the city of Richmond, but we are open to serving truck accident victims throughout Virginia.

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