Understanding the Discovery Process in a Personal Injury Case
If your personal injury case is one of the few to make it to court, you’ll want to get familiar with court proceedings and pre-trial preparation. One of the most time-consuming parts of trial prep is discovery, during which your attorney gets access to evidence and talks to involved parties to focus their case as much as possible.
If you have been injured in Virginia because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim. Learn more about your options now by calling Pack Law Group at 540-586-7225.
The Goal of Discovery
During discovery, both sides strive to get as much information as possible about the other side’s evidence and claims. Throughout the process, both sides gain access to the information they need to build their claims.
The goal of discovery is to figure out just how strong the other party’s case is, uncover holes in their case, and find areas where you can make your case stronger. It also allows your attorney to use their time more effectively while building your case. If they can get the other party to admit to certain claims, they do not have to spend lots of time proving that claim.
There are several discovery tools your attorney might use to get the information they need.
Interrogatories are a good way to get the basic facts of the case and uncover discrepancies between different individuals’ retelling of events. In an interrogatory, one party in the lawsuit will write a list of questions and submit them to the other party. The other party will submit a list of written answers. This tool typically covers basic parts of the case, such as which injuries the victim suffered, the medical treatment they have received, their medical history, how the accident occurred, and the names of everyone involved.
Requests for Production
Tangible documents are a crucial part of every court case. They provide evidence supporting the claims made interrogatories and depositions, and in some cases, they can actually disprove the other party’s claims. In a personal injury case, an attorney might request documents like:
- Medical documents
- Insurance policy documentation
- Photos from the scene of the accident
- Repair quotes or bills
- Medical bills
If a document is requested, the other party must produce it.
Requests for Admission
A request for admission addresses specific claims related to the accident and damage caused by the accident. One party writes a factual statement and submits it to the other party. The other party must admit to, deny, or object to the facts in the statement. This tool is often used to uncover important details about an accident, since these details may be forgotten when giving a broader statement or retelling.
An admission can also be helpful in allowing your attorney to focus their efforts. For example, if they can get the other party to admit that they were texting at the time of the car accident, that fact will be accepted as truth in court. Your attorney doesn’t need to spend more time subpoenaing phone records or otherwise trying to prove that claim.
While an interrogatory allows parties to give written responses to questions, depositions are verbal question-and-answer testimonies. Although depositions happen out of court, deponents are required to answer questions truthfully and fully. Depositions are either recorded or transcribed by a court reporter, and the information given during a deposition may come up during trial. The answers given during a deposition might be used to support or dispute a witness’s testimony during the case.
Discovery can often take months, making it one of the longest parts of the legal process. However, the information uncovered during discovery is essential in making your case as strong as possible and helping you get the compensation you deserve.
Start Your Virginia Personal Injury Claim with Pack Law Group If you have sustained injuries because of someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to cover the financial losses on your own. A personal injury claim may help you recover the compensation you are due. Learn more about your options now and set up a consultation by calling Pack Law Group at 540-586-7225 or contacting our team online