What Is the Discovery Phase of a Personal Injury Case?
If you pursue a personal injury case and it goes to trial, you have to go through a discovery process. That means your attorney and the defense lawyer will request evidence from the other side. Whether you were injured in a car crash, workplace accident, or another scenario, opposing parties will gather evidence to prove their case.
During the discovery phase, each attorney can review the other side’s evidence. This could be beneficial for understanding whether the defense lawyer has a chance of arguing their client’s case successfully. Or you might acquire documentation you didn’t know existed that could improve your chance of winning.
Understanding Discovery in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
After you file a lawsuit and the other party responds, you begin the discovery phase. This is a part of preparing to take your case to trial. Discovery involves various elements, including:
- Request for Admissions
- Request for Production
One of the objectives of discovery is learning all the information the opposing party has acquired during the course of their investigation of the accident. Your personal injury lawyer can file the necessary documents with the court to request answers and evidence from the at-fault party’s defense attorney.
An interrogatory is a written questionnaire sent to the other party involved in the case. Responding to interrogatories can be a long and tedious process. You could spend hours reviewing each question, gathering documentation to support your answers, and recalling complete and accurate answers to every question.
State law limits the maximum number of interrogatories each party can serve to the other. According to Georgia Civil Code 9-11-33, the maximum limit of interrogatories is 50.
Common questions asked and information requested in personal injury interrogatories include:
- List and describe all instances resulting in your arrest and conviction of a criminal offense.
- What type of treatment did you seek for the injury sustained in the accident?
- State your name, current physical address, and phone number.
- List any medications and dosages you took before the incident.
- Provide the name of your insurance company, policy number, and policyholder’s name.
- Explain what you recall about the events leading up to the accident.
- Did you talk to anyone at the scene of the accident?
- Describe the nature of any damage to your personal property.
You might not have to answer all interrogatories. Your personal injury attorney can advise whether you should respond to each question. Instead of an answer, they might have you write “object” with a brief explanation for the objection. For example, a question might be too broad or could be irrelevant to the case.
You must also sign the Interrogatories in front of a notary public. When you sign, you’re essentially admitting under oath that the answers you provided are factual.
Request for Admissions
A Request for Admissions is exactly what it sounds like. Your attorney and the defense attorney send documents asking the other party to admit or deny the various allegations presented.
This part of the discovery phase is necessary to determine which facts the lawyers can present during the trial.
Request for Production
A Request for Production asks the other party for copies of evidence relevant to the case. The defense lawyer could object to the request or provide the necessary documentation. Conversely, your attorney could object to requests they deem to be unnecessary.
Common documents involved in a Request for Production are:
- Police reports
- Medical records, physician statements, and other medical evidence
- Billing statements, receipts, invoices, and additional medical expenses
- Repair estimates for the damage to personal property, such as a vehicle during a car accident
- Pictures from the accident scene
- Photos of visible injuries
- Video surveillance footage
- Documentation from an employer indicating a loss of income due to the injury
A deposition involves one side asking the other party questions under oath. A court reporter will be there to record the conversations. Additionally, either side could choose to record the sessions by video.
Your attorney can schedule a deposition with the defendant, and the defense attorney can schedule a deposition with you. The lawyers might also want to depose anyone who witnessed the accident.
When you participate in a deposition, you must answer everything honestly. You will be under oath, meaning you could face criminal charges if you lie and someone finds out later. Additionally, if what you say during the deposition differs from the answers you provide during the trial, it could hurt your case.
Contact Chris Hudson Law Group
The Augusta personal injury lawyers of Chris Hudson Law Group are passionate about helping accident victims recover from their injuries. We will provide quality legal representation and fight by your side until the end.
If you sustained an injury in an accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, call Chris Hudson Law Group for your free consultation at (706) 690-4613 right now.