If your personal injury claim is one of the 4-5% that actually goes to court, there’s a long process that will unfold before you ever step foot in the courtroom. Discovery is a significant part of this process, both in terms of importance and time. Knowing what to expect from this process can help you plan and set realistic expectations for your case’s timeline.
It’s time to talk to an attorney if you’ve suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence. A personal injury claim may allow you to recover compensation for everything you’ve lost. Set up an appointment with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey by calling us at 251-432-0612.
How Discovery Works and Why It’s Important
Discovery is the part of the case where each side “discovers” the evidence and information possessed by the other side. Knowing what types of evidence the other party has helps your attorney build a stronger case, figure out which evidence can be tossed out or excluded, and fully prepare for court. Without the discovery process, both sides would run the risk of being unpleasantly surprised in the courtroom.
Discovery is important in multiple ways. First, it may help your attorney uncover evidence that damages your claim. Finding this out in advance gives your attorney time to push back with stronger evidence or discredit the other side’s claims. Second, it reveals information that can lead you to important evidence that supports your side. This may help your attorney either secure a favorable court outcome or negotiate a full and fair settlement on your behalf.
The Process of Discovery
There are four steps in the discovery process. Each one of these actions provides valuable evidence that may strengthen your case.
During an interrogatory, attorneys can verify and gather information related to the case. They submit a list of written questions to the other party. The party receiving the questions is bound to answer fully and truthfully under oath. Attorneys commonly ask about the other party’s contact information, insurance information and details, witnesses to the accident, and written recollection of the accident and how it occurred.
2. Requests for Documentation
Any personal injury case involves a wealth of documentation, and each side wants full access to the other party’s documents. During this stage, an attorney might ask the other party to provide medical bills and reports, documentation of time spent away from work, repair estimates and details, video and photographic evidence of the accident, and police reports.
3. Requests for Admissions
Each side has their own version of events, and attorneys want to verify or discredit each of the claims presented. That is where this step comes into play. Your attorney will give a list of allegations to the other party and ask them to either admit or deny each one. This might seem basic or unnecessary, but it can actually save your attorney a lot of time.
For example, consider a car accident claim where you are trying to prove that the other party was negligent. If they admit to the fact that they were checking a text message at the time of the accident, that statement can be used in trial. Your attorney does not have to spend additional time or energy proving that they were texting, which allows them to spend more time addressing other parts of the case.
Depositions are a critical step in the discovery process. While interrogatories are written questions and answers, depositions are done face-to-face. Generally, these sessions are either recorded on video or transcribed by a court reporter. Answers are given under oath, so answers provided by each party can be used in court as evidence. Depositions give your attorney a way to build a solid court case or negotiate a settlement in your favor.
Reach Out to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today
A personal injury claim can allow you to get your life back after an accident. With an aggressive attorney, you can fight for the compensation you need to pay medical bills, make up for lost time at work, and recover from your injuries. Take the first step now by calling Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-432-0612 or contacting us online.