After a lawsuit is filed, but before it is heard in court, is the stage where the discovery process takes place. This stage is critical to the success of a personal injury case moving forward, as it is a time for your lawyer to collect the evidence needed to help prove your claim.
Our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys discuss the discovery process and how it may affect the outcome of a case. If you have been injured due to another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to pursue compensation. Request a free consultation to learn about your legal options.
The Discovery Process and Its Importance
The discovery process occurs before a trial begins. It allows for both parties to collect information regarding the case and its facts. Discovery is important as it allows for your personal injury attorney to obtain important evidence that can be used to develop trial strategies and support your claim in court.
When a lawsuit is first filed, it is rare that all the relevant information is known to the involved parties. More evidence is needed to support the lawsuit’s claims. Discovery provides the opportunity for attorneys to seek information from the opposing party and other sources to build a strong case for trial.
Rules of Discovery in a Personal Injury Case
Attorneys to both sides of a personal injury case must follow the rules that outline how the discovery process is conducted. These rules are set out by each court.
Attorneys use a variety of methods to obtain information during discovery, including:
- Requests for Production (RFP) – RFPs are commonly used to obtain documents, including electronic or paper files. RFPs must be detailed regarding what documents a party wants produced by the other party.
- Requests for Admission (RFA) – An RFA is a written statement, which is given to the other party to either admit or deny. Typically, RFAs are not used to obtain an admission of guilt, instead they are used to get the party to admit that a set of facts is true or that a document produced is genuine.
- Interrogatories – These are written questions given to the opposing party which must be answered, in writing and under oath.
- Depositions – These are an oral, in-person interrogation. One side asks the other side questions, and the other side must answer. Depositions are done under oath.
Information That Could Be Discovered
During the discovery process, both sides may seek information that pertains to the lawsuit’s issues. This includes information that is only slightly related. The types of information personal injury attorneys may seek during discovery include:
- What a witness saw, did or heard in relation to the matter at hand
- A witness’s professional, educational and personal background information
- The identities of people who may have knowledge of the accident, injuries or damages
- Things that were said at a specific time or place about the accident, such as in a meeting
- Information about a business’s operations process
- Documents that relate to the matter
Limitations on What Could Be Discovered
Certain forms of information are unable to be sought during the discovery process. Limitations exist to prevent the disclosure of private information to the public during a lawsuit. Limitations on what can be discovered include:
- Confidential conversations between lawyers and clients, doctors and patients, religious advisors and someone who sought spiritual counsel as well as conversations between spouses
- Information on private matters such as health issues, sexuality, spirituality, religious beliefs and immediate family relationships
- Information that invades the privacy rights of third parties
Learn More About Your Legal Options Today
If you were injured in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys at Gordon & Partners are prepared to review your situation and determine your legal options.
Request a free, no-obligation consultation today. We charge no upfront fees for our legal services and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.