August 21, 2023 Personal Injury
During a personal injury lawsuit, discovery is a critical phase that occurs after a complaint is filed but before the trial starts. It involves a systematic exchange of information between the parties, which helps ensure that both sides have a comprehensive understanding of all the facts.
For someone who has been injured, the discovery phase can shed light on the evidence the opposing side might present and help tailor their strategy accordingly. Here is what you need to know about discovery in a personal injury claim.
During discovery, both parties are allowed to obtain evidence from the other side. This is done through various tools and methods, all designed to gather information that will be vital in presenting a robust case or defense. There are four key actions involved in discovery: interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admission, and depositions.
Interrogatories are structured written questions that one party in a lawsuit sends to another. The questions within an interrogatory seek to gather foundational data relevant to the case at hand. The recipient must provide written answers under oath within a specified timeframe.
Common questions might request details such as:
The purpose of a request for production is to procure evidence in the form of documents, electronic records, or other tangible items. This process involves one party formally asking the other for specific documents related to the case.
For instance, in a personal injury lawsuit, the request might encompass medical documents, pictures from the accident scene, or receipts from any subsequent repairs. All parties are required to provide any relevant document in response to a request for production.
A request for admission seeks to establish indisputable facts about the case, which helps streamline the legal proceedings. This involves one party sending a written statement of fact to the opposing party.
The recipient is then obligated to either admit to, deny, or contest the validity of that statement. If a party doesn’t respond to this request within a specific period, a court might interpret this non-response as an admission of the fact.
Depositions are formal procedures where individuals provide sworn testimonies. The primary goal of these sessions is to obtain a clear, recorded account of an incident.
Any party involved in the lawsuit, including key witnesses or experts, can be called for a deposition. These sessions are documented in detail by a court-appointed reporter. Depositions occur outside of the courtroom, but because the party is required to answer these questions under oath, they are admissible as evidence during the trial.
The length of the discovery process can vary based on the complexity of the case and the jurisdiction’s rules. Typically, discovery can last several months, but in intricate cases, it might extend over a year. Factors influencing the duration include the number of witnesses, the volume of documents, and the cooperation level between parties.
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is crucial to have an attorney on your side who can protect you during every step of discovery and beyond. As soon as possible after your accident, contact a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer to plan your next steps.