How Does Discovery Work in an Injury Case?
When your personal injury case starts, you may have some information and evidence to give your personal injury attorney. But you certainly won’t have all the evidence that you need to win your case. That’s because in many cases, the Defendant has crucial information that you need to win your case.
Why would a Defendant that is being sued, willingly hand over evidence that would help you win your case? The answer is that they have no choice but to do so, because of a process that is known as discovery.
No Trial By Surprise
We tend to think of trials as a bunch of surprises, where each party goes into the trial blind to what the other side will argue, do or say. But that’s not really how it works. Long before your trial starts, the parties will both exchange information with each other.
The parties do not have to just hand any and all information over to the other side that they may have. They only have to hand over or disclose information to the other side, that the other side actually asks for. If your attorney doesn’t ask for the right information, or complete information, you may not get the information that you need to prove or win your case.
There are a number of ways that your attorney will get the evidence needed to win your case. Some of the main ways include:
Depositions – depositions are where your attorney will sit down with the Defendant or a witness, or anybody else who has knowledge of the case, and ask them questions. Think of a deposition as an in-person interview, or question and answer session.
Interrogatories – Interrogatories are like deposition, only they are written questions. Almost any question asked of a party, must be answered by the other side.
Requests for Production – Any documents, videos, or physical evidence that a party has, must be turned over to the other side if the other side asks for it.
Third Party Information – Sometimes, a third party has documents that may be relevant to the case. For example, a cleaning service may have records showing when and how often they cleaned a store’s floors. The cleaning service is not a party to the case and may not be the party being sued. But you can still ask for, and receive, information from non-parties to the lawsuit.
During the course of asking for this information, either party can object to producing information the other side asks for. When there is an objection, the judge in the case will rule on whether the information that was requested, needs to be provided or not.
As discovery progresses, it may become clear which party has the stringer case, encouraging a settlement before the actual trial.
Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today to help you get the information you need in your personal injury case.