What Is the Discovery Phase of a Personal Injury Case?
Jul 01, 2022 | CHASENBOSCOLO
In many personal injury cases, the plaintiffs and defendants may try to reach a settlement outside of court to avoid litigation. However, it’s not always possible to settle a personal injury claim, and your only course of action may be to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you seek.
All cases that go to trial involve a discovery process. This is where the parties to the lawsuit gather the information they need to make their case. The process can be complex and will require a firm understanding of the law, and you need an attorney on your side to help you.
The Discovery Phase
The discovery phase refers to the process that both plaintiffs and defendants use to gain information from the other party that will provide important details and evidence about the case. The process requires all parties involved to be forthcoming about the information and evidence they have, and it helps both sides prepare their arguments to either prove their case or establish their defense.
Some of the information you can obtain through discovery in a personal injury case includes the following:
- Any eyewitness accounts and their identities
- Statements from anyone else who may have pertinent information regarding the accident
- Detailed information regarding the cause of the accident or injury
- Expert testimony
- Medical and forensic evidence
- Any and all information pertinent to the case
In all phases of discovery, you are required to provide the information and evidence you have upon request from the opposing party. You will have to submit your response within a certain timeframe that the court will establish, usually within 30 days.
The process of discovery typically uses the following methods for obtaining information:
- Interrogatories – Interrogatories are questions both the plaintiffs and defendants can ask the opposing party to gain information about the case. You can ask up to 30 questions, and in the questions, you can ask for detailed information regarding all areas that may be pertinent to your case.
- Requests for documents – Both parties may request copies of any and all documents related to the case. This can include physical documents as well as electronic documents, and parties may not object on the grounds that the information may be commonly known or publicly available. These may include documents such as accident reports, eyewitness statements, medical reports, and more.
- Admissions of fact – You may also petition the court to allow for admissions of fact. You would send the other side a series of facts, and they would admit that the fact is true, deny that it’s true, or say they don’t know. By carefully using admissions of facts, you can reduce the number of items you must prove during the trial because if the other side admits that a fact is true, you’ve both agreed upon it in the document, and the court will accept it as true.
- Depositions– Both parties can request depositions to provide evidence in their cases. Depositions are sworn statements made under oath, and they can provide potent testimony in a case if the matter goes to trial. Many personal injury lawyers representing a plaintiff will depose the defendant to help expose any weaknesses in their defense. On the other hand, a plaintiff’s lawyer may depose their own client if their testimony may help sway the jury. Furthermore, both parties can depose expert witnesses to provide vital and reliable testimony related to the case.
In some instances, the court may not allow certain evidence or testimony, usually medical in nature, by deeming it “privileged.” The court may deem information as protected because of confidentiality and privacy violation concerns or to keep certain information out of the public eye.
Let Us Help You
Successfully navigating a personal injury claim is complex, and you want to ensure you have all the information you need to help you build the strongest case possible.
The personal injury attorneys of CHASENBOSCOLO have successfully handled thousands of personal injury claims, and we fully prepare each one as if it were to go to trial. Our attorneys have extensive experience obtaining all the information our clients need to build the most compelling case possible to help them obtain the compensation they need and the justice they deserve.
For more information on how we can help you, please contact us at (301) 220-0050 or through our contact page to request a free consultation.