The Basics of the Discovery Process in Personal Injury Litigation
Personal injuries unfortunately are all too common. They occur every day in workplace accidents, car crashes, and even due to defective products. Litigation in the personal injury context is complex. When one is injured, a lawsuit may be resolved in various ways. It can resolve before any lawsuit is filed (ie. your insurance or the defendant’s insurance company pays for your medical costs and damages). Lawsuits may also settle after it is filed, but before trial (out of court). It is recommended that if you do want to settle your case, you do it before the discovery process begins, to minimize litigation costs.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is a fact-finding process that takes place after a lawsuit has been filed and before trial in the matter, in order to allow the parties in the case to prepare for settlement or trial. It is based on the notion that no one should be “surprised” when they go to court, and that the free-flow of information helps resolve cases. The court in which the lawsuit is filed is responsible for the specific requirements for how the parties may seek and produce this information. Because of that, there are deadlines and guidelines for filing discovery requests and submitting answers for both sides. This means that if a plaintiff or defendant fails to respond to another party’s request as required by the rules, the other party may file a motion to compel responses and go before the judge.
Some discovery methods include:
- Interrogatories – Typically, these are written questions that the other side must provide written answers to, within 30 days. Each side answering questions must swear or affirm their answers are the truth (e.g. they are given under oath).
- Requests for Production of Documents – Each side in a lawsuit may request documents from the other. In the personal injury context, that can be medical files or insurance paperwork.
- Depositions – These are question and answer sessions while the witness is under oath. Typically, they take place with attorneys, the witness and a court reporter who will record verbatim, everything that is said by the witness.
- Request for Medical Examinations – Sometimes, defense prefers the plaintiff be examined by a doctor of their choosing for another opinion. This is because an injured party’s medical condition is at issue in a personal injury case.
- Request for Inspection – When an accident occurs, both sides will probably want to be able to visit the site of the accident and collect evidence. This request allows one to go on private property to do so.
Protect Your Rights. Maximize Compensation After an Injury.
At Calhoun Law, PLC in Nashville, our priority is to help you and your family get the compensation you deserve. We will go through your case in detail and work with an independent investigator to reconstruct the scene of the accident. We will also try to obtain as much information as possible in the discovery process to maximize a favorable outcome for you. Contact us today so that we can ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries.