Discovery Process in a Personal Injury Case

A lawsuit technically begins when a complaint is formally filed with the court. A complaint is a legal document which basically states the factual and legal basis for your claim against the party responsible for your injury. This complaint must be filed within the time limit set by Florida’s statute of limitations. In most cases, a personal injury lawyer will file a lawsuit when settlement negotiations with the insurance company are not going very well. If they are not, proceeding with a formal personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to pressure the insurance company enough to get a reasonable settlement offer. Once a lawsuit is commenced, there are several phases of a personal injury lawsuit that you should be familiar with. In this blog post, we will discuss the discovery phase of personal injury lawsuits and explain how it all works.


The legal process used to get information from the other side in a personal injury lawsuit is called discovery. Once you have filed your complaint, the defense has two opportunities to get your input regarding your claim: interrogatories and depositions. Discovery can involve a simple exchange of written questions and answers called interrogatories. Interrogatories are extremely common in personal injury lawsuits. They consist of a set of written questions drafted by the  opposing party that must be answered in writing within a set of time, typically thirty days. The important point is that you are required as a plaintiff in a legal action to meet the obligations of discovery, including completing Interrogatories. Failure to do so could even cause your case to be dismissed. The list of Interrogatories, including all sub-parts can be quite extensive. Typically, defense counsel will send a copy to your lawyer’s office who will then forward the Interrogatories to you. Basically, Interrogatories are designed to get a clear picture of the facts as you understand them to be, as well as your history. Questions are likely to be quite specific but can be broad and general as well. Of course, it is important to be honest, direct and truthful. Your law office will review all your answers before preparing them to be sent to defense. Therefore, if there are areas of concern, you have ample opportunity to discuss those matters with your lawyer. The questions may extend to periods of time preceding your injury. For example, you may be asked to identify all medical providers or healthcare professionals you have seen in the past five years. The purpose is to identify if you were treated for any of the symptoms, complaints or injuries that are the subject matter of the lawsuit. If you consider any of the questions overly burdensome or intrusive, discuss them with your lawyer. But keep in mind the courts give very wide latitude to this form of discovery. Basically, if the question may lead to discoverable information or evidence, it is allowed.


The next type of discovery tool is the deposition. A Deposition is essentially a set of questions that are typically asked in an attorney’s office. Injury victims are required to answer depositions under oath. While depositions are a basic part of discovery in most personal injury lawsuits, the number of depositionsthat are conducted in a personal injury case can vary depending on several factors. The main reason behind a deposition is for opposing counsel to ask an injury victim about the facts and circumstances that form the basis of their claim. While you can have your own personal injury lawyer with you, you will still be required to answer most questions, if you can. You can expect deposition questions to involve questions about your personal background, detailed questions about liability, damages claimed, medical treatment and/or issues, etc. Another important reason a deposition is taken is that it presents a unique opportunity for opposing counsel to evaluate the injury victim as a potential plaintiff if the case were to go all the way to trial.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney in South Florida Today!

Dealing with an insurance company on your own or filing a lawsuit without an attorney can be intimidating. Our personal injury attorneys can assist you with any issues you may have and more with honest, practical and sensible legal advice and clear guidance. Although there is no need to take a crash course in personal injury law or understand every detail of your car accident claim, by knowing the basics, you can alleviate your fears and prevent common mistakes other personal injury claimants tend to make. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Let us help you get the medical care you need and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries! Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.

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