The trial preparation required for a personal injury action involves much of what is known as the “discovery phase” of litigation. If this is a new term to you, it refers to the phase before a trial whereby the parties are able to discover the evidence and testimony to be introduced by the opposing party in an effort to prepare their cases. Discovering one another’s evidence may seem counter-intuitive but the courts and legislature have discerned that full and open discovery is the best way to arrive at the correct conclusion at trial since all parties will be fully informed and able to defend and litigate all issues to the best of their ability. Simply put, the state of New York did not feel it was in the best interest of justice to allow parties to hide material evidence until trial, thus “surprising” the opposing party and giving him no time to prepare. A personal injury lawyer will be very experienced with the rules of discovery and will ensure that all pertinent evidence is revealed to you in preparation for your personal injury trial. If you are considering a personal injury action against the party who harmed you, the following represent a few of the items that will likely be requested by the opposing party.
- Medical Information: The opposing counsel will want to review all the medical information that is relevant to the personal injury. Don’t worry, he will not be able to view any private information about you that is not relevant to this case. Only the medical charts and information that pertains to your personal injury will be discoverable. This will probably include any medical records taken at the time of your injury as well as any follow-up information that will reveal the severity of the long-term effects of the damage.
- Financial Information: It will be important for the defense to review the financial impact of the injury because he will want to know the approximate amount you will be seeking in damages. If you are seeking lost and/or future wages, documentation of your earnings will be necessary to determine this amount. This might require tax documentation or paystubs. Further, medical billing records will be important for the determination of your medical expenses as you seek compensation for your injuries. Any other financial compensation you may seek is reviewable by the defense prior to trial.
- Law Enforcement Records: If the police were present at your accident, the defense will want to prepare for a cross-examination of the officer. He will need to review the police reports taken at the time of the accident to ensure that he is privy to all the pertinent details associated with the details of the case. Police notoriously take thorough notes and are keen on reporting small details that may seem insignificant to the casual observer.
If all this document preparation seems overwhelming, relax! Our personal injury lawyers will be able to help you compile these documents and can help you obtain copies of anything you need as well. Contact us today, we’d love to hear from you!