One of the most important parts of a personal injury lawsuit is what is known as the discovery phase. This usually occurs after the initial lawsuit is filed, and entails both parties involved in the personal injury lawsuit exchanging information regarding the events and parties in question. The information obtained during discovery is used by both sides of the lawsuit to build and present their arguments.
While it may seem counter-intuitive for you to provide information to the insurance company which they may use against you, discovery is a key part of the legal process, and it can often work to your benefit regardless. If you can show that your case is strong, it may make the insurance company more likely to settle and avoid a potentially costly jury verdict, saving you time and letting you begin rebuilding your life that much sooner.
The discovery process is the exchange of information by the parties involved in the lawsuit, and that information can take several forms. Some information is exchanged via written responses, while others involve asking and answering questions in person. This can be stressful at times, but a good Monmouth County personal injury lawyer will walk you through the process, and support you by objecting to inappropriate or irrelevant questions.
The Discovery Phase – Interrogatories
Interrogatories is a written request to answer certain questions. Your responses to these questions are generally considered to be given under-oath, so it is important that you answer as truthfully and accurately as you can. Interrogatories can include any question which “is reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence” and as such can include questions regarding the circumstances of your accident, medical history, previous involvement in personal injury claims, and general background information.
The Discovery Phase – Admissions
Admissions are another form of written information requested during the discovery process. Admissions are a series of statements which you must either agree are true, deny, or state that you can neither agree or deny them and why. The phrasing of these statements is very important to your case, so make sure your personal injury attorney helps you through this process. Requests for admissions come with a deadline, and it is extremely important that you meet this deadline as if you don’t, you forfeit your right to challenge the assertions that the other side is making about the case, and the court assumes you admit to the statements they provided.
The Discovery Phase – Production of Documents
Another form of information requested during the discovery process are documents related to the case. These usually include any medical records associated with treatment you have received as well as medical history documents from your primary care physician, police reports and witness statements, photographs taken of the scene of the accident, and proof of lost wages in the form of tax returns.
The Discovery Phase – Depositions
The final form of information requested during the discovery phase is what is known as a deposition. Perhaps the most difficult, a deposition is an in-person interview where you and any relevant witnesses are interviewed by the defendant’s lawyers, and your testimony is a matter of record which can be used if your case does in fact go to trial. It is very important that your personal injury attorney prepares you for this process, as the phrasing of your answers and general demeanor are all important. Your answers are given under oath and are recorded by a court reporter.
Contact a Monmouth County Personal Injury Attorney Today
As you can see, the discovery phase is extremely important to your personal injury case. Having an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to walk you through the process, make sure your answers are accurate and timely, and defend you from inappropriate or irrelevant questions is extremely important.
At the law offices of Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington, we have extensive experience helping clients recover compensation for injuries resulting from construction accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, dog bites, and slip and falls. To schedule a cost-free consultation with one of our Middlesex County personal injury lawyers today, contact us online or through our West Long Branch, NJ offices at 732-440-3950.