Accidents happen. No matter how careful we might attempt to be as we navigate the world outside our homes, danger still might find its way to us. When an accident or injury results from the negligence of another individual or entity, action needs to be taken so that justice can be secured.
If you’re getting ready to file a personal injury lawsuit of your own, it’s important that you take the time to understand how the process works. The element of the lawsuit that you should become most familiar with is the discovery process.
How does it work and how will it impact the eventual outcome of your case? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
What Is the Discovery Process?
When you bring a personal injury lawsuit against another individual, it creates a lot of work that needs to be done. In order to win your case, you’ll need to prove a series of elements.
You’ll need to prove that another person or entity acted negligently or without due or reasonable care. You’ll need to prove that this negligent action caused injuries and damages from which you are suffering.
These damages can be the financial costs of medical care and lost wages from work. It can also be compensation for the pain and suffering that was caused by the incident. In order for all this to be proven, you’ll need to provide a great deal of evidence.
This evidence can take many forms, but will typically include photographs or video, witness testimonies, and other helpful pieces of information.
The part of the legal process in which all of this information is explored and collected is known as the discovery process of a personal injury lawsuit.
Fact gathering during this time will allow both sides of the case, the defendant and the plaintiff, to pool information and learn more about the circumstances of the case.
There are many different steps that an experienced attorney will take during the discovery process that one might want to be familiar with.
The word interrogate sounds a little frightening and might conjure images of a dark windowless room from the likes of legal cable shows. However, interrogatories in a public injury case are simply written questions that each party of the lawsuit sends to the other during the discovery phase.
These are questions that each side of the lawsuit wants the answer to, and the opposing side will return these questions with answers that are sworn under oath. These answers must be as truthful and accurate as possible under the law.
What kind of questions are asked? It will depend on the specifics of the case. One might ask about how an injury occurred, the extent of the pain, the nature of the medical treatment, or many other questions.
This information will then be used as evidence in the case.
Production of Evidence
One of the most important elements of the discovery phase is the request for production. Any and all relevant documents related to the injury claim need to be shared openly between both sides of the lawsuit.
Both parties will request the production of evidence from the other.
Common evidence in a personal injury case includes medical records, police reports, photographs or videos from the accident, and so forth. Anything that one side of the lawsuit has and plans to use as evidence in the case must be shared with the opposing side during this phase.
There are very few reasons why a piece of evidence would be considered so confidential that it could not be shared during the discovery phase of a lawsuit.
One of the most important parts of the discovery phase is the deposition. A deposition is similar to interrogatories, except a deposition occurs in person. A deposition is an in-person question-and-answer session that the parties in the lawsuit conduct with all appropriate individuals.
The answers given during a deposition are also given under oath and must be as truthful and accurate as humanly possible.
It’s possible that each side of the lawsuit will use what is said in a deposition to discredit the other in a court of law. As such, it’s important that each side prepares for these depositions carefully. An experienced attorney can help prepare a client for their deposition and get helpful evidence from the depositions they conduct themselves.
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Timeline of Discovery
How long does the process of discovery take during a personal injury lawsuit? It will depend on the specifics of the case. Sometimes, the discovery process will last only a few weeks. In other more complicated cases, it could take months and months.
During the discovery process, the two sides of the lawsuit will have the opportunity to come to a compromise and settle. This will be based on the evidence that comes in during this phase.
If they can’t agree to a settlement, the case will proceed to a court trial.
Understanding the Discovery Process of a Lawsuit
If you’ve been injured as the result of another person or entity, it’s essential that you take swift and strong legal action. It’s the only way to get the compensation you deserve. The above information will help you to understand how the discovery process of a personal injury lawsuit works so that you can be prepared for what is to come.
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