What Is Discovery?April 25, 2013
Once a personal injury lawsuit has been filed, the plaintiff and defendant enter into the discovery process. But what exactly is discovery? During discovery, the parties exchange information about the case.
According to Maryland law, there are five ways the plaintiff and defendant exchange information and learn more about the case:
- Depositions. The attorneys in the case can take a deposition of any party or witness in the case. The attorney asks the witness questions under oath. The court reporter records everything said during the questioning.
- Interrogatories. Interrogatories are written questions about the case. The answers to the questions are provided in writing.
- Production or inspection of documents and other tangible things. Usually testimony is not enough to prove a case, and documents and other tangible evidence are needed. For instance, in an auto accident case, documents such as the police report and medical records are produced. The attorneys exchange written requests asking for the relevant evidence.
- Mental or physical examinations. A big part of a personal injury lawsuit is proving the plaintiff’s injury. More often than not, the defendant’s attorney has the plaintiff undergo an examination by a doctor selected by the defendant’s attorney. The examination is kind of like a second opinion for the defense.
- Requests for admissions. The attorney sends statements to the opposition that the opposition can either admit or deny. Requests for admissions are not used often.
The information gathered during discovery can be used to help with settlement discussions, with each side having a better idea of what they think the case is worth. If the case does not settle, the information and evidence gathered during discovery is used at trial. Contact the Baltimore injury lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. if you think you have a personal injury claim.