Stages of a Personal Injury Lawsuit: Discovery and Investigation
The lawyers of Charpentier Law Firm have helped countless accident and injury victims throughout the greater Melbourne area. Our team of experienced injury and accident attorneys have guided countless clients through various stages of the legal process.
We would like to continue our exploration of the steps in a personal injury lawsuit by looking into the discovery and investigation process.
What Happens When the Paperwork Is Done?
Once the paperwork is completed, the personal injury case moves into its next phase. During this stage of a case, the attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant will begin to assemble evidence and facts that help support their respective sides. During this process, new evidence may turn up that helps the plaintiff and/or the defendant in their case. This whole process is known as the discovery phase.
The Discovery Process
In broad terms, the discovery process refers to the process of finding evidence, interviewing witnesses, and building a case. Much of this investigation and research occurs outside of an actual courtroom. Whenever there are disputes between the sides in the discovery phase, a judge may be able to resolve these issues so parties can proceed in a fair manner.
What Is Obtained as Part of Discovery?
The discovery phase allows lawyers to seek out any information that may be germane to their respective cases so long as this information is not deemed legally protected. This includes the following:
- Documents related to the incident
- Testimony from witnesses
- Background information of these witnesses
- The identities of other potential witnesses
- Comments about the incident that occurred at relevant times or places
- Information on business practices
Items That May Be Legally Protected
There may be some information that is protected from discovery, including:
- Confidential/privileged conversations that are verbal or written (e.g., discussions between spouses at home, conversations between attorneys and their clients conversations, conversations between doctors and their patients)
- Private or personal matters (e.g., information regarding personal health, sexuality, religion, etc.)
- Information on third parties not involved with the lawsuit (e.g., co-workers, family members)
Depositions allow attorneys to meet with the witnesses of a case individually and conduct interviews. The witness is questions under oath to ensure the truth of any statements made, and to help ensure consistent, unchanged testimony should the case go to trial. Opposing attorneys may note inconsistencies with witness testimony during the trial to the jury.
Requesting the Production of Evidence
Attorneys can ask various parties to produce any pertinent documents or items that can be used as evidence in a case, such as records, bills, and contracts. The attorneys can also use this opportunity to examine any physical evidence in the case
Interrogatories are the written questions and responses that are exchanged between the parties in a lawsuit. These items may be admissible in court.
Requests for Admission
Requests for admission typically involve one side of the case authenticating information and evidence for the other side. Done under oath, this can help determine certain matters that are brought up during the trial.
Speak with the Lawyers of Charpentier Law Firm
For more information about your legal right and options during every phase of a case, be sure to contact our team of personal injury attorneys today. The lawyers of Charpentier Law Firm will provide you with all the information you need to make good choices about your legal options.