Phases of a Personal Injury Case: Litigation

frequent asked questions

The deposition is a very important legal proceeding that should almost always involve preparation by the personal injury attorney and the person who is going to be deposed. The person’s performance at the deposition can have a huge influence on the success or value of the personal injury case, usually because these individuals are very important in communicating and establishing the extent of the losses caused by personal injury.

In addition to interrogatories, requests for production, and depositions, each side’s lawyer may also be permitted to issue a subpoena. This is a request to produce documents or items in addition to requesting that the person appear at a deposition or trial. For instance, the personal injury attorney may wish to subpoena the medical examiner’s records for documents; financial, employment, and medical records may be requested by subpoena to help establish various elements or issues involved in the case.

The discovery phase may also include a request by the other side that the plaintiff must submit to a medical examination and/or psychological evaluation. Washington’s discovery rules permit one party to request such an exam or evaluation for the purpose of learning more about the person’s health and/or to evaluate the person’s claim for damages. The legal and factual grounds necessary to support a request to conduct a medical examination or psychological evaluation on the plaintiff will depend on the facts of the case and the issues involved. In most cases, the judge will have considerable discretion to grant or deny the defendant’s request for a medical or psychological evaluation on a case-by-case basis.

Using Expert Witnesses

After a personal injury case has been filed in court, it will often require the assistance of expert testimony to help the attorney prove one or more elements of the cause of action. Since personal injury cases can involve many different issues that are often complex and difficult to prove, an experienced personal injury attorney will usually want to engage the assistance of one or more experts early on in the case. Sometimes, the success of a personal injury case will hinge on the credibility and/or knowledge of the experts involved. That is why it is extremely important that the attorney have substantial experience in handling personal injury cases as well as having the knowledge of the different types of experts that may be necessary to achieve a successful result.

There are many different types of experts that can be used in a personal injury action. Generally, experts can fall into two classifications in the personal injury case:

  • Liability experts
  • Damage experts

To learn more about your legal options, order a free accident resource book written by Seattle personal injury attorney Chris Davis.

Click here to order your free book.

 

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The Discovery Process: Important Process in your Personal Injury Claim

Book Collection

After a personal injury lawsuit is filed and the defendant is properly served in a timely way, both sides participate in a process of exchanging information about the case. This process is known as discovery. There are many different forms of discovery or different ways to request or obtain information from the other side in a case. In Washington, the rules governing the discovery process are quite broad and allow each side to investigate what evidence and witnesses may be introduce at trial. Even if the requested information does not appear directly relevant to the case, it may still be a proper request if it could lead to the discovery of relevant information.

One form of discovery may involve sending or answering written questions called interrogatories.

There may also be written requests for production of documents and other materials that are relevant to the claims being made in the suit. There may be limits to the number of written questions or requests that can be exchanged, depending on the local court rules. When the interrogatories and request for production are answered and completed, you must also execute a document stating that the answer and responses are true and accurate.

Another form of discovery may include a deposition. This is a face-to-face meeting where the attorneys are allowed to ask witnesses questions under oath while a court reporter transcribes the session. Any witness who may offer testimony at trial can be deposed: yourself, your doctor, the medical examiner or coroner, other family members, eyewitnesses and experts involved in the case.

To learn more about accident claims in Washington State, order your own copy of attorney Chris Davis’ accident book. Mr. Davis has authored several book regarding various accidents. Click here to order your own resource.

 

 

 

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A Mistake in Accident Cases: Failing to Hire a Lawyer When it is Necessary

 

Failing to hire a lawyer can severely damage your claim, and cause you to receive a significantly lower settlement. If your injuries are serious or permanent, then it usually is in your best interest to hire an attorney to help you resolve your claim. Typically, the more serious the injury means the higher the value of the claim. When there is more money at stake, the carrier will typically fight harder to avoid paying out a fair settlement. Please remember that insurance companies go to great lengths to train their adjustors on how to dig up information to use against you and then teach them how to use this information to negotiate and minimize the claim. Adjustors usually handle thousands of claims every year, so they are expert negotiators and evaluators of injury claims. Many times, the insurance company will assign an accident case to the person who has the most knowledge and experience with these types of claims. So that adjustor will be well-versed on the law and understand the defenses and arguments available in a bicycle accident case. In most cases involving severe injury or scarring, the experienced accident lawyer will be able to obtain much more compensation then the unrepresented victim can recover on their own (and this is even true after the attorney subtracts his fee!). Chris Davis handles bicycle cases on contingency, so there is no out-of-pocket cost to see him and he can usually tell you whether the case is worth pursuing with a lawyer or if you can handle it on your own.

 

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Honesty is Absolutely the Best Policy

 

A HUGE setback in any injury accident case, is not being absolutely honest with your doctors and the authorities. Your credibility as a victim is extremely important. Oftentimes an incident or claim can only be proven based on what the victim says and what the vehicle driver says. Thus, if you give statements to your doctors or the authorities that turn out to be false, this will likely destroy it completely.

Although it sounds like a cliche, honesty is absolutely the best policy. Be above reproach when it comes to describing what happened in the incident and how the injuries have affected you. Even minor exaggerations or incomplete versions of the incident you tell to the doctor can cause major problems in the claim. Also, be aware that statements you make to others can be used against you. If you make a false statement to someone like a witness or co-worker or friend, that person can be used as a witness against you. So being honest to everyone is the best policy.

 

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Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Duties Related to Bicycles, Part 2

 

Riding on Shoulders vs. Bike Lanes

Bicycles are faster than pedestrians, but they are usually slower than motor vehicles, so bicycles are required to keep as far to the right-hand side of the road as is safe, unless making a left-hand turn or overtaking another vehicle. If a bicycle is traveling on a one-way street, the left hand side of the road may be used as well. Bicycles may also use designated bikes lanes and the shoulders of the road if they are available, but may choose not to do so for reasons of safety.

Riding Abreast

Since bicycles have a very narrow profile, they may ride two abreast on the road, but no more than that, provided they do not unnecessarily block traffic.

Riding with Traffic

Because a bicycle is sometimes thought of as a pedestrian, some cyclists think that a bicycle is safest when it, like a pedestrian, travels on the left-hand side of the road toward oncoming traffic. In fact, the speed and poor visibility of a bicycle makes this extremely dangerous. This is particularly true at intersections where drivers don’t expect bicycles to approach on the left-hand side. Because of this, bicycles are required to travel in the direction of traffic.

Click here to order your free copy of Wheels of Justice: Washington State Bicycle Accident Law, written by Seattle bicycle and pedestrian accident attorney Christopher M. Davis.

 

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The Crucial First Step After an Accident

 

An injury accident is a traumatic experience. A moment of inattention on the part of a motorist can result in confusion and injury. Each year in the United States, almost 900 cyclists are killed in collisions with automobiles. Because cyclists are often difficult for motorists to see and lack the protection of metal cars and airbags, those who survive collisions may suffer severe injuries and permanent disabilities that can require years of expensive treatment and rehabilitation. Despite every reasonable precaution, accidents still happen. When they do, it’s important to take the right steps to ensure that you preserve your claim and increase the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome. That’s why in many cases, hiring an experienced attorney to represent your interests is one of the smartest moves you can make.

THE FIRST STEP

The first thing to do is stay calm. Right after an accident, your body is filled with adrenalin. You may be very frightened or angry or both – and you may want to confront the driver of the vehicle. This is natural and perfectly understandable, but don’t. The best thing that you can do is to keep your temper in check and stay calm. You need to get information from the driver of the vehicle, witnesses, other parties that may be involved, and the accident scene itself.

If you waste your energy with anger, you will not be able to focus on what you have to do, and it will be difficult to get the people at the accident scene to cooperate with you. If you are injured, getting upset may make you unaware of how severe your injuries are and cause you to neglect them or fail to seek professional medical attention.

Gathering complete information is important because even though insurance companies are legally obligated to compensate the victim, they will often go to great lengths to deny the claim or minimize a claim. As a result, you need to make sure that you have as much reliable information about the accident and your injuries as possible. This will strengthen your claim and increase the odds of a favorable outcome.

It’s also important to get as much information as possible at the time of the accident, because it may be months or even years before a case is resolved. In most cases involving injuries, you should always call the police so that an investigation is done. The police officer will usually take witness statements and gather information that you or your attorney will need later on. You need to remember that what may seem perfectly obvious to you about what happened won’t be so obvious to a court or a jury many months of even years in the future. There is also the possibility that you may not notice an injury or damage to your property until it’s too late to show that the accident was the cause of the injury or damage – unless you have already collected the evidence. Wore, the accident scene can change, physical evidence at the scene can disappear, injuries can heal, witnesses can forget or become hard to track down, and your recollections of event can start to fade. In fact, one danger for the victim of an accident is post-traumatic amnesia (PTA), which may result in the victim having no memory of the events either leading up to or immediately after the accident. In cases of PTA, gathering full information about the accident in order to resolve a settlement is vital, because the victim may be unable to say what happened with any confidence – of he or she even remembers it at all. In such cases, witness testimony is particularly important, since the victim cannot give a full account.

Davis Law Group encourages you to follow these steps in order to receive optimal results for your case.

 

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What is a Bicycle?

 

Bicycles are familiar objects and we all know one when we see it, but to prevent confusion, Washington State law defines a bicycle as a device propelled only by a human power with two wheels in tandem, one of which is at least sixteen inches in diameter. “Bicycle” can also apply to unicycles and pedal-powered tricycles with wheels that are at least twenty inches in diameter.

As people become more environmentally conscious and health conscious, we see more and more bicycles on the road every day. Bicycles are not only being used for exercise or recreation, but also to carry people from home to work. In Washington State, our government and many local communities are encouraging people to switch from motor vehicle to bicycles. As more bicycle lanes and paths are built, especially in cities like Seattle, more bicycle accidents are likely to happen. It’s therefore very important for both drivers and cyclists to understand the law as it applies to bicycles.

To continue reading, order your free copy of Wheels of Justice: Washington State Bicycle Accident Law written by Seattle bicycle accident attorney Chris Davis.

 

 

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