Understanding the Discovery Process in a Personal Injury Case
If you’ve been injured because of someone’s negligence, you’ve likely considered filing a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim can help you seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses. These cases generally end in a settlement, rather than going to court. However, if your case is one of the few that does go to court, you will need to go through the discovery process.
As you learn more about personal injury claims and what to expect, make sure you have the right lawyer for the job. Set up a consultation with Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley by calling us at 251-847-2237.
The Role of Discovery in a Personal Injury Claim
Discovery is a crucial part of a personal injury claim. Essentially, it allows both sides to gain access to the same information that the other side has. For your attorney to build a strong case that proves the other side’s liability, they’ll need access to a range of documents and statements.
In the same way, the other party will want to know what information you attorney is sitting on. They might want to look at your medical records, access your work records to see if you’ve been off of work, and hear your side of the story.
Different Types of Discovery
There are several specific actions your attorney might take during discovery to get as much information as possible.
Interrogatories are a good starting point for the discovery process. This step involves writing a list of questions and submitting them to the other party. The other party responds with their answers in writing. This step is good for establishing the basic facts of the case, such as the other party’s name and contact information, insurance information, and any injuries they may have suffered during the accident.
Requests for Production
Your attorney can also request that the other party produce specific documents. Tangible documents are a key part of building a solid case. In a personal injury case, attorneys may request:
- Medical bills and records
- Detailed insurance policies
- Repair estimates for vehicles or proof that the vehicle is totaled
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Documentation of time away from work
If the other party requests documents from you and your attorney, you will be required to produce them.
Requests for Admission
When trying to build a case, an attorney has to make sure that every part of their claim is indisputably true. This is considerably easier when the other side will admit to certain facts upfront. This saves time and effort, allowing the case to move along more smoothly. In a request for admission, one side writes a statement and serves it to the other party. The other party must either admit, deny, or object to what is included in the statement. If they admit, the facts within the statement are assumed to be true for the case.
In a deposition, one side provides verbal testimony. Parties involved in the accident can be deposed, as can expert witnesses and those who witnessed the accident. A deposition is typically recorded on video or transcribed by a court reporter. During a deposition, one party answers questions posed by the other side’s attorney. The information provided in a deposition is admissible in court.
How Long Does Discovery Take?
Discovery is easily one of the most time-consuming parts of a personal injury case. The process can move along fairly quickly if both sides respond quickly to requests. If one side fails to cooperate or drags their feet during discovery, the process can last for months. In general, expect this stage to last between a few weeks and several months. As you move through the process and your attorney gets familiar with the other party’s tactics, they’ll be able to provide more insight.
Discuss Your Claim with Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley
You may be entitled to compensation if you have suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence. To get full and fair compensation for your losses, it’s crucial to work with a personal injury attorney. The team at Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley is here to help. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 251-847-2237 or reaching out online
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