If you’ve been in a car crash and the insurance company won’t play ball with a fair, just settlement, you may need to go to trial to obtain the outcome you want. Discovery is a critical part of trial preparation. When Oklahoma car accidents occur, the lawyers for the car accident victims and those who caused the accident will take formal steps to determine what happened. Some of these steps include:
- Submitting written questions (called interrogatories) to the parties to the lawsuit
- Questioning all relevant witnesses orally (called depositions)
- Requesting formal documents such as proof of insurance to the plaintiffs and defendants
Experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyers understand which questions to ask. We advise clients that some questions may be outside the scope of discovery. We explain that relevant questions should be answered honestly and accurately – without disclosing more information than is necessary. Lawyers can always submit/ask more questions if the answers aren’t clear.
Common questions that plaintiff/accident victims will be asked
Most defense lawyers have a standard list of written questions they submit. They will add more questions based on the unique facts of the car accident. Typical questions include:
- Questions about your background. Your name, birthday, Social Security Number, address – all of these will be recorded. You’ll be asked if you have any known aliases, too, so if you are a married woman, you’ll need to give your maiden name, as well. You’ll be asked to provide your driver’s license. You may also be asked the following:
- To identify your current employer and your employers for the ten (10) years prior to the accident date. State your job title, how long you worked at each job, your wages and salary, any supplement wages such as overtime and bonuses, and the number of hours you work each week.
- Disclose any criminal convictions or driver’s license disciplinary action in the last ten (10) years.
- Disclose any other injury claims in the last ten (10) years. This would include, but is not limited to, any car wrecks, workers’ compensation claims or trip and fall injuries. If so, you may need to indicate the court term and number of the lawsuit, who the defendants were, who the insurance carriers were, and the ultimate outcome.
- Identify ownership of any vehicle involved in the car wreck. Where was the vehicle registered? Was the vehicle insured by anyone? If so, by what company?
- Any other medical treatment for the same or similar body parts injured in the car wreck over the last ten (10) years.
- Questions about the accident. Opposing counsel is going to want to know more about why you were on the road that day – were you going to work? Were you running out for milk? – as well as whether you were familiar with the roads and the area where the collision happened. You’ll be asked about road and weather conditions (Was it raining? Was their roadwork being done?) and what kind of damage your car sustained. The lawyer will ask how fast you were going, whether other people were around, and what happened that led to the crash. You might also be asked:
- Did you take any medications or consume alcohol or drugs within 48 hours prior to the accident? If so, what substance and in what amount?
- When the accident happened, did you have any disability or disease that would have affected your driving abilities?
- Were you using a smartphone or other electronic device prior to the accident? If so, please identify the carrier, phone number, and other identifying information about the phone/device
- Did the police investigate the accident?
- Were there any traffic citations issued? What happened to those citations – hearing, dismissal, or settlement?
- Identify any witnesses to the car accident or anyone with knowledge about the accident
- After the accident, did you speak with any parties or witnesses? What did you and they say?
- Questions about your injuries. Once you have given the details about the crash, the lawyer will ask about your injuries: who was hurt, what kind of injuries did you sustain, did you see a doctor, etc. You’ll need to provide a medical history of sorts, including whether or not you were disabled before the crash, and what kinds of medications you are on now. You’ll be asked about your medical bills, and your lost time at work. These questions will be detailed, thorough, and a bit repetitive, but they are important.
- Additional questions. You may also be asked:
- What social media accounts do you have? You will very likely be asked to download your entire social media accounts, or you could even be ordered to provide your username and password to opposing counsel by order of the Court. Social media posts can be taken out of context and destroy legitimate injury claims. It is likely the insurance company has already searched and downloaded any posts or photos you have placed on-line. The best advice is to avoid posting anything on social media following an injury accident before you retain and consult a lawyer.
- If a spouse is claiming loss of consortium, state the basis for the claim and the damages.
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers are here to help. We guide our clients through each stage of the litigation process, and help them prepare for interrogatories and depositions when needed. To speak with a strong advocate, please call 405-232-1212 or fill out our contact form today.