Discovery in Oklahoma City Child Injuries
Individuals who may bring a personal injury action will face questioning by opposing counsel for most matters. When a parent brings a personal injury action on behalf of his or her child, there are certain special considerations that must be accounted for. This article cannot address every possible legal issue or challenge a parent may face when litigating on behalf of his or her child. Furthermore, the list of questions provided does not include every possible inquiry that could be made. This article is intended to provide a sampling of potential questions you may face as part of the discovery process intended to uncover evidence regarding the causes of injury for you child who has not yet reached age 18.
To receive information from an experienced Oklahoma personal injury lawyer and to access a print-friendly version of the questions a parent of a child under the age of 18 is likely to face, please submit your e-mail address below. Please note that submitting one’s e-mail address does not establish an attorney-client relationship and parents are encourage to consult directly with an experienced litigator before taking any substantive action, and that the “cheat-sheet” is just a sample of questions. Remember, defense counsel and insurance companies handle matters of this type day-in and day-out, they will not hesitate to exploit a pro se litigant’s inexperienced with personal injury matters and the legal process.
Questions You May Face in a Deposition or in the Form of Written Interrogatories
In any case, most questioning will begin with a question asking the parent to
Please state your name for the record.
This question is typically straight-forward however the individual should be sure that the name they give is a legal name that fully identifies the individual. However, A parent who brings a personal injury action on behalf of their child should understand that while they may be the decision-maker for all actions brought on behalf of the child, there is a legal distinction between the parent’s right to consequential damages due to loss of services and expenses incurred and the child’s right to damages due to the injuries he or she sustained. Thus, the next inquiry may be something along these lines:
Mr/Ms .X, did you bring suit against Defendants individually and as parent and next friend of MINOR, for personal injuries occurring on or about the (Date) , as set forth in Plaintiff’s Petition filed today docket No. ########, District Court of Oklahoma County, State of Oklahoma.
Following this question, an inquiry into the relationship between the parent and the child may occur. Questions may explore whether the individual bringing the suit is a custodial parent and the extent of the relationship to the minor including whether the parent knows the child’s birthday and age. Next, and at some point early in the process, there is likely to be an inquiry into whether there is an attorney providing representation in the matter.
Following these foundational questions there is likely to be an inquiry into the exact nature of the injury and events that transpired. This is an area where an unrepresented litigant can easily stumble because they may fail to include certain injuries that are compensable. Alternatively or additionally, they may also fail to provide the necessary expert testimony to establish the severity and full-range of impacts of the injury. Questions regarding the injuries may include:
- Please briefly describe what injuries MINOR suffer any injuries due to the incident?
- Were there any other injuries that you’re aware of?
- Is MINOR continuing to have any medical problems as the result of this incident?
There are many other questions that are possible, but this provides a brief window into some inquiries that may occur as part of an interrogatory or in a deposition.
Potential Questions in a Personal Injury Settlement Negotiation for a Child
Should a matter proceed to settlement there are an array of concerns and legal obligations that must be satisfied. At the outset, the purpose of the meeting is likely to be established in a prompt similar to:
We are here today to settle MINOR case against the Defendants, correct? And is it your understanding of the settlement terms that the Defendant and his insurer will pay $XXXXXX.XX to you individually and as parent and next friend of MINOR, correct?
Additionally the opposing counsel may ask questions to ensure that you understand the rights you are giving up by accepting a settlement. They may ensure that you are aware that “the $$$$$ is all the money which the Defendants and their insurer will pay you and MINOR as a result of the incident, correct?” They may also ask whether your decision to enter into the settlement agreement is voluntary, if you are aware that you are giving up your right to a jury trial where the jury could potentially award damages greater than the settlement amount, and if you are aware of any fraud or other wrongdoing associated with the claim. It is also likely that there will be an inquiry into whether you honestly believe is “…it is in the best interest of [the child] to settle this case in accordance with the terms we’ve just outlined?”
Work with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer After Your Child has Been Severely Hurt
The information provided above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal guidance for individualized circumstances nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship to any extent. However, as one can probably conclude by the questions above, litigating and settling any personal injury action is a highly technical process that can be derailed by errors and mistakes during any point in the discovery or settlement process.
To discuss your child’s life-altering injury, your potential legal options, and what to expect from the litigation process contact the experienced litigators of Hasbrook & Hasbrook today. To request more information regarding how they may be able to help and a print-friendly PDF version of the questions contained within this article, please submit your e-mail address by clicking the button below.