If you've been injured in a car accident and you file a suit against the at-fault driver, you might be interested in a little-known, but potentially profitable part of the process. All trials provide the opportunity for both sides in a court case to share information about the case as part of trial preparation. The ability to build a case is predicated on this back-and-forth sharing of information, and you will have a part in it. Read on to learn more about the discovery process in regard to your personal injury trial.
There are four main discovery procedures: Interrogatories, Production Requests, Admission Requests, and the Deposition.
1. Interrogatories: This is usually one of the first of the four discovery practices and involves each side requesting information about the case from the other. The information requested is fairly basic, such as the following:
- Name and contact information of the parties
- Witness information
- Insurance information
- Injuries and medical treatments performed
2. Production Requests: As the name might imply, each side formally requests specific documents from the other side. Often, this request accompanies the interrogatories and can include requests for medical records, photographs, witness statements, and more. All requests must be complied with, but this process can take some time to accomplish and has been known to hold up proceedings.
3. Admission Requests: These are a series of statements presented to the other side that require the respondent to admit or deny the validity of the statement. Failure to deny a statement may lead to the judge deeming it admitted, so this is an important document. For example, the admission may state, "You admit that you were exceeding the speed limit when the crash occurred." Your attorney will work with you to produce this, and all, discovery documentation.
4. Deposition: This meeting of all parties requires your participation, but you will be well-prepared by your attorney. Here, each party to the suit is questioned one at a time (in private, but with the attorney and court reporter present) about the accident. Anything said during the deposition may be used in court, and all deponents swear to tell the truth.
Almost anything that is revealed during a deposition, or in any of the other three areas of discovery, could result in the offer of a settlement. Proceeding to court will only eat up more money, and it is in the best interest of both parties to come to an agreement outside of court. Talk to your personal injury attorney to learn more about this fascinating area of the legal system and how it applies to your case.