Legal Guide

What the Discovery Process in a Personal Injury Lawsuit Looks Like

In the United States, there are more than 3 million non-fatal injuries every year. 

If you were one of those hurt, this might entitle you to compensation if your injury occurred because of something someone else did or failed to do.

The most common personal injury cases are car accidents, medical malpractice, or workplace injuries. People also turn to the legal industry when they slip or fall due to negligence.

Suppose you are waiting for a settlement to pay medical bills. In that case, you may wonder how long the discovery process will take in a personal injury lawsuit.

Read on to learn more about what the discovery process entails:

What Is the Discovery Process?

When preparing for trial, your local attorney and the defense attorney will carry out discovery.

This means they will exchange all the information they have about what happened, what evidence each side will present, what injuries took place, and what medical treatment was received.

This allows both parties to prepare and avoid an ambush with evidence they cannot counter or respond to. 

The discovery process involves a series of methods to gather information. Learn more about how long the process could take.

1) Depositions 

Depositions are usually the most critical part of a personal injury case. They play an essential role during the trial and its preparation.

A deposition is a statement given under oath by a person involved in the case. Either party to the case can take depositions, and both sides have the right to be present at a deposition.

Laywers will question a witness, or party to the case at length about the events that occurred. They will record this in writing or videotape it. The benefit of a deposition is that it gives insight into what a witness is likely to say at trial.

Sometimes witnesses who can not appear in court will be deposed, and their statements read into evidence during the trial. Inconsistencies at trial could be used to discredit either side.

2) Interrogatories

While a deposition is an oral questioning, interrogatories allow either party to send written questions to be answered in writing and under oath.

These interrogatories are good at setting witnesses' words in stone, and it can be hard to back down from something you have written. It is also an excellent way to gather the facts about the accident.

3) Subpoenas

Either party can subpoena the other side to produce physical evidence for inspection. This can include documents, medical records, security footage, photographs of the accident, or maintenance records.

Your local law firm can also subpoena someone to testify in a deposition or trial. This could be a witness who is not keen to speak about what they saw.

4) Physical examination

Medical examinations can be an important part of discovery. This can be to prove your own injuries. The defense might request that you submit to a separate physical examination as they seek to prove your injury is not as serious or was caused by something else. 

Getting Compensation

It can feel like a long road to getting the compensation you deserve. If you have bills to settle, the process can seem particularly stressful.

However, with the best law firm you can find and a deeper understanding of the discovery process, you should feel more at ease.

If you found this article helpful, browse our blog for more legal tips.

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