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Tips On Getting Through the Discovery Phase of a Personal Injury Claim

In the province of Ontario, any personal injury claim that winds up going to court first has to go through a process called a "discovery." If you are familiar with the legal process in the United States, then you may be familiar with the American version of a "discovery" which is called a "deposition." The process sounds simple, but it can be extremely nerve-wracking for someone who has never been through it before.

In a discovery, you and your lawyer go up against the other party and his or her lawyer in a small room. There is a court reporter in attendance to take down everything that is said exactly as it is said. There are a lot of things going through a person's head when they are facing an examination by a lawyer, but the discovery process is extremely important to your overall case.

Relax

In a discovery, you are not a criminal on trial. You are one party in a personal injury lawsuit that needs to give your side of the events. Take a deep breath before you enter the reporter's room and let your lawyer do the initial talking. When it is time for you to talk, you will know. Your lawyer will be there to guide you and give you advice. If you need to take a break, then ask for one. Do whatever it takes to help you calm down and give an accurate discovery.

Be Accurate

The worst phrase you can start a sentence with in a discovery is "I think." The information you give in discovery will come up again in the trial. If your answer at the trial differs at all from your discovery error, then that is going to hurt your case. Give short and accurate answers based on your best recollection of the events. If you do not remember something or do not know the answer, then just say that you do not know. Never say that you are not sure, as that can leave room for doubt.

Avoid giving false answers or trying to make up answers just so you have something to say. In a discovery and a trial, the truth is what you want to give. If you do not know the answer, then tell the truth and say that you do not know.

Take Notes

Your lawyer is taking notes for his own use, and you should take notes for yours. When the other party says something that strikes you as incorrect, then write it down to see if it jogs your memory.

Avoid Confrontation

In discovery, there are no right or wrong answers. There is only the truth. Avoid feeling like you have to correct everything you feel is wrong in the other party's statement by directly contradicting him or her. This is not a test where the judge and jury will base their decision on how many right answers you gave. Avoid direct confrontation with the other party and let your lawyer deal with the inconsistencies in the other party's statements.

 

For assistance with a personal injury and/or insurance claim, please email David Himelfarb at dhimelfarb@himprolaw.com or call 1-855-446-7765, for a free case evaluation.

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