Personal injury cases require the collection of information and evidence, regardless of which side you are on. The process of obtaining and reviewing such information in a personal injury case is known as discovery. Continue below to learn which options personal injury parties might have in the discovery process, plus where to get the best advice regarding your recent accident or injury in Indiana.
The Personal Injury Discovery Process
After a personal injury complaint and answer is filed with the court, the discovery phase can begin. The discovery process generally takes usually anywhere from 6 to 12 months, but this can vary depending on various factors, such as the current traffic of the court, the amount of investigation required, court delays, rescheduled court dates, and so forth.
During this phase, both the legal teams for both the claimant (party making the claim) and the defendant (the party being sued) will exchange all evidence with one another, including witness information. They will also go before the proceeding judge to let them know how the case is proceeding. Also in the presence of the judge, they will either decide on mediation, which is normally ordered by the judge, and they will move forward with the lawsuit by setting a trial date.
Common Options For Discovery
There are different methods used by the court system to obtain personal injury case information. The two most common methods are depositions and interrogatories and physical exams, Requests for Production, Requests for Admission, and Subpoena Duces Tecum are other methods used to investigate and research all legal claims and defenses.
Depositions are formal, recorded interviews conducted under oath and used to learn what a person knows pertaining to the case in question, and as evidence for later use during the trial. Depositions can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, but in larger cases it may take several hours and even a day or two to reach completion.
Interrogatories are a little different but are used for much of the same purpose. Rather than a formal interview in person, interrogatories are a set of written questions that each party sends to the other. Each party must fill out the entire list in writing, under oath, and within a limited period of time (usually between 20 and 40 days depending on the state). Although they are not always phrased in the form of questions, interrogatories always pertain to specific factors surrounding the case, such as reckless driving, distracted driving, and intoxicated driving. Since it is common for both parties to have different versions of what happened in an accident, they are designed specifically to get both sides of the story so that each party can prepare their case before trial.
It is very common for the defense to request that the claimant be physically examined by a licensed medical practitioner chosen by the defense to verify and confirm the extent of their injuries. Judges almost always grant these requests. Although these examiners are obviously biased since they are hand-picked and paid for by the defendant’s insurance carrier, the witness can be cross-examined at trial on any testimony and opinions.
Requests for Production
A Request for Production is a motion that asks the opposing party for specific types of evidence or information that they are in possession or control of. This might include medical records and reports that detail the extent of injuries to the claimant, invoices or documents evidencing lost wages, photos of the scene or injuries, fuel receipts, and similar documents that prove or disprove allegations or statements made by either side.
Requests for Admission
A Requests for Admission is when one party asks the other to either deny or confirm facts. It is basically asking for them to admit to certain statements for the purpose of streamlining the case process. It allows the court and jury to focus on the necessary points of the case.
Subpoena Duces Tecum
A Subpoena Duces Tecum is a special type of subpoena used in cases. They are very similar to Requests for Production in that they ask someone to disclose evidence or information pertaining to the case. But while Requests for Production are reserved for claimants and defendants, a Subpoena Duces Tecum can be applied to expert witnesses, doctors, and other case-relevant entities who are called nonparties.
Are you a Hoosier who is looking for trusted and qualified advice regarding your rights to pursuing compensation for a wrongful accident you were recently injured in? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a no-risk, no-fee personal injury evaluation to explore your eligibility, today. We represent clients all throughout the state of Indiana.