When you are involved in a personal injury case, the process of discovery enables youâ€”and your attorney to gather information about the other sideâ€™s case. There are several ways that important information can be gathered according to the state or federal rules of civil procedure.
Interrogatories consist of a series of questions posed to the other side, usually about the case. These questions usually orient around that sideâ€™s witness list, exhibits, evidence, and planned arguments. In general, any question can be asked as long as it yields relevant information and the answer is not privileged. Some states limit the number of questions that may be asked while others do not.
Depositions are question and answer sessions with another party in the personal injury action or a witness. Everything said is recorded by a court reporter or similar professional so that a written record of the proceedings becomes available. Should a trial witnessâ€™s testimony differ from what they said during the deposition, the discrepancy could be used to impeach them.
Requests for production
Requests for production ask the other side to produce specific evidence, such as medical records, records that prove economic losses, and evidence involving prior claims. The party doing the requesting may inspect the documents and make copies, and the information must be in possession of or accessible to the party receiving the request.
Requests for admission
A request for admission calls for the other side to admit or deny certain allegations. One party asks the other a material question with the intention of narrowing the focus of the case. Requests for admission also ensure that valuable time and resources are not spent on issues that have no relevance.
Subpoena duces tecum
These are similar to requests for production in that they ask for certain evidence to be produced, but they can be issued to those who are not actual parties to the litigation, such as medical professionals, accident witnesses, banks, and other individuals and businesses. Their primary use is to request documents such as medical and financial records.
If a party who receives a discovery requests fails or refuses to respond, there can be negative consequences, such as contempt of court actions or significant sanctions. In some instances, the party who did not respond can be compelled to answer a wider range of questions.
Your personal injury attorney can explain the purpose and methods of discovery, so that you understand everything going on during each stage of your claim. All of these information gathering techniques have one goal in common: to get you the award or settlement you need to recover and move on.
If you were injured in an accident are seeking compensation for your injuries, then it is best to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Jayson Lutzky is an accident attorney who handles cases related to car crashes, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice and other types of accidents. Call 718-514-6619 to set up a free in-person initial consultation and visit Mr. Lutzky’s office on the web at www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com.