What You Need to Know About Discovery in a Personal Injury Claim
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim for the first time, it can be helpful to understand more about how the legal process works. There are many phases to a civil lawsuit, and the discovery phase is just one part of it. Discovery is important because it can have a significant impact on the outcome of your claim.
At PKSD, we have been representing injury victims in Wisconsin for decades. Our Milwaukee personal injury lawyers are dedicated and work hard to protect the interests of our clients. We are always prepared to help after an accident that causes you harm. Call our law offices 24/7 to learn more.
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What is the Purpose of the Discovery Phase?
The general purpose of discovery is to make sure both sides have the same facts and evidence, giving both the plaintiff and defendant an equal opportunity to prove or disprove the claim.
The attorneys representing each side often do not initially have access to all of the information they need. The discovery phase helps to “fill in the blanks” with evidence and other details the lawyers may use to develop their legal strategy.
This is just one reason for choosing an attorney who also has a history of success handling cases similar to yours. A qualified attorney will know how to take the evidence and information gathered and build a strong case on your behalf.
How Evidence is Obtained During Discovery
There are several ways that attorneys collect evidence and other information for a personal injury case, including through:
An interrogatory is a set of written questions that are sent to the other party to answer. The questions must be relevant to the incident that caused the injury. Responses must be objected to or provided in writing and under oath.
These are just a few examples of the types of things the injury victim could be asked:
- Name/contact details of the involved party
- Insurance details that apply to the incident
- Type and extent of the injuries sustained
- Medical treatment already received
- Relevant medical history of the injury victim
- And more
Requests for Production (RFP)
RFPs are written requests for tangible documents that the other party would like to examine. Common RFPs that could be requested in a personal injury claim include:
- Relevant medical records
- Accident scene photos
- Insurance policy of the injury victim
- Receipts for medical bills and other costs
- Proof of repairs to the plaintiff’s property
- And more
Requests for Admission (RFA)
An RFA is very similar in some ways to interrogatories. However, parties are asked to either “admit” or “deny” each question. Parties must provide an admission, denial or objection to each RFA within 30 days of receiving them. Failure to do so could result in a judge ruling that any RFAs not responded to are considered an admission.
A deposition is testimony that is provided out of court. Either side can request a deposition. Even though a deposition is not part of a trial or formal hearing, it is important to be completely honest when answering any question. Since depositions are recorded (video) and transcribed by a court reporter, they may later be used if your case goes to trial to either dispute or support formally given testimony.
How Discovery Findings Could Help – or Hurt Your Claim
The discovery process is about finding out any relevant information, along with supporting evidence, about the incident. This is why being straightforward and honest is critical to the outcome of your claim.
For instance, say you do not reveal a preexisting injury – either to your attorney or during discovery. Once the other party requests your medical records, which they always do, that information will come out. A discovery like this one could hurt your claim significantly – not because of the preexisting injury, but because of the attempt to cover it up. Dishonesty damages your credibility.
Your attorney needs to know everything up front – before the other party does – to be able to develop the best strategy for proving and protecting your case. Remember that anything you share with him or her is protected by attorney-client privilege.
Injured and Ready to File a Claim? Contact Our Law Firm for Legal Help Today
Every personal injury claim has its own complications. That is why plaintiffs can benefit from having an attorney on their side to fully manage the case. At PKSD, we have extensive experience and have recovered millions in compensation for our clients.
Learn more about your legal options in a free initial consultation. There is no obligation to file a claim or hire our services. If we represent you, there are also no upfront costs to pay.
Call to speak with a trusted lawyer today. PKSD: 877-877-2228