What is the discovery process in a personal injury case? Personal injury cases go through a fact-finding process known as discovery.
Discovery is a systematic, official process required for any lawsuit. During your personal injury case, you might experience multiple stages of discovery. The amount of discovery your case experiences and how far it progresses into discovery depends on the evidence and settlement. Sometimes, a case settles before finishing discovery, while other times it must complete all aspects before receiving an offer.
Written discovery allows each party to discover facts about the case, including interrogatories, requests to produce documents, and requests for admission to the court.
These all play a role in evidence collection; therefore, your attorney is likely to use all forms.
- Interrogatories – Written questions that are answered under oath.
- Requests for Production of Documents – Formal requests requiring one side to produce a document for inspection, copying, and filing by the other party.
- Requests for Admission – Seek to have the party with the evidence admit the state of fact or authenticate the truthfulness of that evidence.
The Oral Discovery Phase
Oral discovery typically includes depositions. During the oral discovery portion, parties will interview witnesses, the plaintiff, and the defendant. Some questions might come from the interrogatories, while others question deeper knowledge.
A deposition is an official meeting, and there is a court reporter present to record the conversation. Sometimes a video recorder is used as well.
Depositions feature a question-and-answer format. Therefore, the defense’s attorney will ask questions and the person being deposed answers. Certain objections can be made during a deposition, but it depends on that state’s laws.
Physical and Mental Examinations
When there are injuries or the mental condition of a party is under question, the opposing party may seek a court order that requires a physical or psychological examination.
The plaintiff typically goes through the independent medical examination (IME) to determine the scope of the injuries, their severity, and so forth. If the claimant claims mental anguish or post-traumatic stress disorder, the courts might seek a psychiatric examination.
Can an Attorney Dispute Discovery Evidence?
Disputes are common during the discovery phase. Sometimes a party might argue that a deposition question or document is irrelevant, while other times an individual may feel questioning is purposely vague. Questions that invade the privacy of the defendant or plaintiff might also create a dispute, and some questions might constitute harassment – depending on the context.
An attorney is there to protect the plaintiff during the discovery phase. They also prepare them for the deposition so that they know how to answer questions properly.
Meet with a Personal Injury Advocate Regarding Your Injury Case
Discovery comes long after the process of a lawsuit begins.
The first step after a serious injury is to consult with a personal injury attorney.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.