What Happens During the Discovery Phase of a Personal Injury Claim?

lawyer-deposition-glassesA personal injury lawsuit involves many steps, many in preparation for trial. One important phase is discovery, when both sides share information, they need to build a case. Learn more about this process below.

Purpose of the Discovery Phase

The discovery phase in a personal injury claim is part of pre-trial preparation. Discovery is a formal procedure when all parties involved share and collect information about the case. The purpose of this process is to avoid delays when the trial begins, with each side having the information needed to proceed with the case.

During this process, you may be asked several questions about the incident and exchange information related to the case. This is also an opportunity for you and your attorney to request certain pieces of information from the other parties involved.

In California state courts, the discovery phase is governed by the Civil Discovery Act of 1986.

Interrogatories

Interrogatories are a part of the discovery process that involves a written set of questions sent from one party to another. The answers are provided under oath, which means they must be answered honestly, unless there is a valid objection. The responses are usually used later during the trial.

There may be two types of questions asked as part of the interrogatories: general and specific. If you and your attorney receive both types, they will need to be answered separately.

According to California law, interrogatories are required to be answered and submitted within 30 days of receiving them.

Production of Documents

A request for production of documents is when one party asks another party to provide certain documentation related to the case. These documents could be helpful as they may be used later as evidence in a trial.

For example, in a car crash case, parties usually request documents such as medical records, pictures of injuries, healthcare bills, proof of lost income from missing work, vehicle repair bills, and pictures of vehicle damage.

Even if you have minor injuries, visiting a healthcare professional after the accident is an important part of the claims process. Some injuries may take some time to cause symptoms and obtaining compensation without proof of a medical examination is nearly impossible. The insurance company may claim your injury could have been less severe had you received treatment immediately after the accident.

Request for Admissions of Facts

As the plaintiff, you must be able to prove certain facts about your claim. A request for admission of facts is an opportunity for one party to ask another party to admit certain facts.

When a fact is admitted, it can be used as fact later in the trial without having the need to spend the time or money interviewing witnesses or convincing the jury of something that no one is challenging.

Is There a Difference Between Interrogatories and a Deposition?

A main difference between interrogatories and a deposition is that the number of written interrogatories allowed is limited in California, but your lawyer can ask the other party an unlimited number of questions during a deposition.

A deposition involves a witness being asked questions about the case in person to find out what the witness knows and to preserve that witness' testimony. Depositions can be used as testimony and take place in the presence of a court reporter who creates a written transcript for all parties involved.

Seek Legal Assistance from an Experienced Professional

The Sacramento personal injury lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm are available to answer any questions you may have about your claim and the litigation process.

If you or someone you love was injured because of another party’s negligence, you could recover compensation to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Legal representation can help obtain the maxiumum compensation you deserve.

The experienced attorneys at the Arnold Law Firm have a history of recovering compensation for injured victims throughout California.

Give us a call today at (916) 777-7777 for a no-cost evaluation of your claim and to learn your legal options.