Discovery is a formal process enabling both sides in a legal case to gather information after a lawsuit has been filed by a Florida accident injury attorney. Requested information may be in the form of documents, physical items, questions posed to individuals in person or from written questions called interrogatories. Usually, individuals involved in the case, witnesses or those who might be able to provide clarification are subject to the discovery process.
What Constitutes Discovery?
Discovery, as its name implies, consists of written information or physical evidence that enhances knowledge about a case in the pre-trial period. Generally, the information is relevant to the case, but Florida accident injury attorneys may cast a wide net when searching during discovery. Even seemingly unrelated information may be requested if it might lead to a better understanding of the case. However, there are some restrictions.
What Is Admissible During Discovery
Objects or documents that provide useful information about the case may be asked for by an attorney. For example, it can include information about an employer if the driver was acting as an employee when the accident happened. The more information a Florida accident injury attorney has, the greater the likelihood of eliminating surprises down the road.
What Is Inadmissible During Discovery?
Requested information must meet the standard of relevancy. Information that might discredit a witness but involves unnecessary information such as religious beliefs or sexuality can be considered inadmissible.
How Is Third-Party Privacy Handled?
In some cases, relatives or witnesses may be asked to provide information. The court might seek to protect such individuals by placing restrictions on the extent of information about third parties.
Can the Court Use Protective Orders?
Yes, the court has the ability to demand that sensitive or financial information be kept confidential. Your Florida accident injury lawyer can ask that information be classified as confidential and sealed. This helps strike a balance between transparency and what is considered outside the realm of consideration.
What Documents Are Part of Discovery?
Different types of information are sought in an accident case. For instance, doctor bills, prescription medicine receipts or other expenses for medical care such as bills for rehabilitation may be requested. Medical records document how someone was injured and might provide insight into the time that recovery may take. Lost wages are a part of the financial loss the plaintiff may suffer, and employment records might be requested. In addition, bills or assessments by a mechanic concerning vehicular damage may be sought by either side.
What Are Interrogatories?
Interrogatories are written questions either party in the case can ask of the other. The respondent must answer honestly and swear under oath the answers provided were true at the time of the interrogatory. The questions and answers are expected within a predetermined time, and the number of allowable questions may be preset. Certain variables exist such as the way the interrogatory can be used and the rules concerning objections. For example, a plaintiff’s attorney in Boca Raton may send interrogatories to a defendant in Fort Lauderdale. Since both are in Florida, the rules of civil procedure in Florida apply.
An accident injury lawyer might ask the defendant to describe the accident as she or he remembers it. The interrogatory can ask about the plaintiff’s health status before and after the accident. It might also ask about what condition the vehicle was in prior to the accident. Your attorney can help you answer the questions since poorly prepared responses can hurt your case.
In addition, if things change such that additional medical treatment is needed and the interrogatory is not amended to reflect this, the new evidence may not be admissible in court. Objections may be made to certain questions, and there is a delicate balance between privacy and appropriate questions. Your attorney will help you decipher between the two. Interrogatories are inexpensive and may provide helpful information.
What Happens at a Deposition?
Depositions are a formalized venue where questions are asked and answered. Your attorney may be present, and he or she will ensure the questions are appropriate and proper procedure is followed. If not, the attorney may object. The deponent is administered an oath, and lawyers take turns asking questions. The relevance of questions is less stringent at a deposition than in court. If the question might lead to relevant information, it is allowed. A transcript of the deposition is prepared, and your lawyer might review it for errors. A minor error could change the meaning of an answer and be problematic in court.
A deposition is used for several reasons. It determines what the deponent knows. The answers given at a deposition can be used to eliminate a different version in court. In this fashion, an attorney obtains the answers during the pretrial period making it easier to prepare for the case. Legal counsel will also be assessing the believability the deponent might have before a jury or judge.
Discovery is an important process in preparation for a legal case. Contact us or call 844-877-8679 for a free consultation. An attorney will assess your case and answer questions you may have. As the case moves forward, the attorney will use the discovery process to gather information. Your Florida accident injury lawyer will also assist you in answering interrogatories and will be present during depositions.