What Should I Expect During the Discovery Process in my Personal Injury Case?
Discovery is a legal process in which there is an exchange of information between opposing parties so that all sides may find out the facts of a case and decide whether to move forward with a trial or settle.
This process usually begins when a lawsuit is filed, and the liable party is made aware and given the opportunity to respond.
At Roden Law, our personal injury lawyers in Brunswick are prepared to explain and guide you through each phase of the legal process. We have helped numerous injury victims secure compensation for their damages.
What is the Process?
There are two general types of discovery, written and oral discovery. Except for depositions, most discovery is done in writing.
Depositions are recorded interviews with parties involved in the case, including plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, and others. The lawyers who represent each party and a court reporter are present. The court reporter swears in party members and writes down what is said.
In a deposition, a lawyer is given the opportunity to ask questions needed to gather or clarify the facts of a case.
Requests for Production of Evidence
Each side is provided the opportunity to make a written request for documents, emails, photographs, videos and other evidence needed to help them build their case.
These are questions written down by one party and sent to the other to be answered under oath.
Request for Admission
When a written request for admission is made, it is usually to try and get the opposing party to admit to some form of wrongdoing or further clarify a statement.
What Can be Disclosed?
The process of discovery provides each side an opportunity to obtain any information about the opposing party that may pertain to a lawsuit, even if at first glance it may not seem like it does. For example, an insurance company may request an injury victim’s financial history to try and argue that a person’s poor financial situation is what is motivating the claim instead of a genuinely severe injury.
Limits on Discovery
While the process of discovery allows a lot of information from both parties to be disclosed, there are some limits as to what may or may not be included during this legal process, including, but not limited to:
- Privileged Communications – Conversations between spouses, patients and doctors, attorneys and clients or religious advisers and advisees have the privilege of confidentiality and may not be included in the discovery phase of a lawsuit.
- Private Matters – Some aspects of a person’s life are meant to be kept private to help avoid embarrassing someone who is filing a lawsuit, this includes matters such as sexual orientation, religious beliefs or immediate family relationships.
- Third-Party Protections – Courts usually issue protections for people who are brought in to help resolve a dispute, such as a witness, to keep the opposing party from bringing forth too much private information.
Despite these limits, courts tend to interpret the rules for discovery quite broadly and refusing to disclose or altering information requested by the opposing party could have serious legal repercussions.
Call a Knowledgeable Attorney Today
If negotiations between you and the insurance company have broken down and you believe filing a lawsuit may be necessary, call Roden Law today to learn how our experienced attorneys may be able to help you.
While we know most cases settle, sometimes it may be necessary to go to court to obtain a favorable result. In fact, sometimes all it takes is filing a lawsuit for the other side to make a better offer.
We do not charge you anything up front or while we work on your claim. You only pay us if we successfully help you recover compensation for your damages.