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And just like that, an accident that was not your fault left you injured or unable to work. Maybe you are ready to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries but you don’t know what to expect?
The discovery process begins after a lawsuit is filed. This crucial step helps each legal team establish the facts in the case.
Here is what you can expect the discovery process in a personal injury lawsuit to look like
What is Discovery in Law?
The discovery phase of a lawsuit is simply the trading of information between the plaintiff and the defendant’s legal teams. It is mandatory for each legal team to share its evidence, witnesses and facts so that both sides can learn more about the case and avoid surprises.
There are four steps in the discovery process of a lawsuit: interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admission and depositions.
Interrogatories are formal questions that are asked by the opposing legal team to establish the facts of the case. The recipient must answer the questions to the best of their ability under oath.
A few examples of common interrogatories are; contact information for the two parties, a description of injuries suffered and treatment, and a list of any witnesses to the accident.
Request for Production
A request for production is another way attorneys establish the facts in a case. Each legal team can request documents from the opposing team during the discovery process. Some common requests include; incident reports or police reports, medical records and insurance policy documents.
A request for production is also mandatory but there are a few exceptions to this rule. If the information that is requested contains privileged information or is too vague the legal team may not be required to act.
Request for Admission
A request for admission is a legal discovery tool that asks the plaintiff or the defendant to admit the truth of certain statements. This request helps narrow the scope of the case and sets up the facts so that the trial can move along faster.
An example of a request for admission could be to admit that certain documents are genuine. This is important because the evidence presented in a case can always be rebutted or presented to be not true but admissions but always be accepted as the truth unless they are withdrawn by a judge.
A deposition is a witness testimony that is given under oath outside of the courthouse while a court reporter is present to keep a record of the testimony. During a deposition, both attorneys will ask the witness various questions to help further establish the facts in the case during the discovery process.
If a witness is not cooperative he or she can be compelled to give their testimony through a subpoena. (Your personal injury lawyer will be familiar with this process.)
The Discovery Process is Crucial
The discovery process in a lawsuit can be confusing but it is an important step in a personal injury lawsuit. It can take weeks or months to establish all the facts depending on the case.
These are the four steps during the discovery phase of a lawsuit. You can always refer back to this article or speak to an attorney about the specific details of your case.