Understanding the Discovery Process During a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury claims often result from auto accidents and similar types of accidents in which another party is responsible for the claimant’s losses. When this occurs, the first step is usually to try to obtain a settlement with the other party and/or their insurer. But if the other side is not willing to make a reasonable settlement offer, the claimant has the option of filing a lawsuit before the statute of limitations in the state where the injury occurred expires.
Once a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the case moves to the jurisdiction of the courts, and this initiates a very important phase called “discovery.” Discovery is a process in which the parties to a lawsuit exchange information that is pertinent to the case. This might include important facts and pieces of evidence, eyewitness testimony, and the opinion/testimony of expert witnesses. Discovery may take several weeks or even months to complete, depending on how complicated the case is and other specific factors.
Forms of Discovery
Discovery begins with some initial disclosures that are required from each side; such as a list of eyewitnesses to the accident or event that caused the injury, a list of doctors and other medical professionals who have examined and/or given treatment to the claimant, a list of expert witnesses who will be used in the case, the amount of damages the plaintiff is seeking (along with documentation to show how this figure was calculated), and any other items, documents, or bits of information that either side intends to introduce.
Aside from the initial disclosures, there may be additional information that either side wants to obtain. There are several different ways that this information can be sought during discovery, some of the most common include:
An interrogatory is a series of written questions that one party to a lawsuit sends to the other. The questions are answered in written form under oath, and they are supposed be answered honestly and to the best of the respondent’s recollection. Interrogatories are often used in a personal injury lawsuit, and they can be very helpful in clarifying important information and/or obtaining additional details about the case.
Request for Document Production
Parties to a lawsuit may request the production of documents that are pertinent to the case but were not turned over to the other side during the initial disclosure phase. Examples of documents that are commonly requested in a personal injury lawsuit include medical records, photos of the accident scene, repair receipts, and records of lost earnings. Document production requests are often made in conjunction with interrogatories.
Request for Admission
A request for admission is a request made by one party for the other party to admit, deny, or object to a statement of fact. These requests are useful in helping to establish certain facts before a court trial begins. This saves them the time and expense of having to introduce evidence and/or call witnesses during the trial to prove these facts.
Depositions are oral sessions in which one of the parties to a lawsuit is required to answer a series of questions under oath. The answers provided are recorded and transcribed by a court reporter for later use. The answers that are given during a deposition are often used to develop a trial strategy and/or to help with negotiating a settlement before the case goes to trial. Deposition transcripts and recordings might also be used later on at trial to help corroborate or dispute certain testimony.
Suffered a Personal Injury in Alabama? Contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for Legal Help
Discovery is a very critical phase during a personal injury lawsuit. This is the time when each side builds their case, and the quality of information that is obtained can often make the difference between the success and failure of a case.
If you or someone close to you suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence, it is very important to have strong legal representation so you can obtain the best possible settlement or file a personal injury lawsuit when necessary. If your injury happened in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is ready to go to work for you! To get started, message us online or call our office today to schedule a free initial consultation and case assessment.
M. Adam Jones,
M. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC
206 N. Lena St.
Dothan, AL 36303
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