The process allows both sides to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their case and the other party’s case. Following discovery, one or both parties may be more willing to negotiate a settlement instead of proceeding to trial. An out-of-court agreement saves both parties time and money, removing the risk of losing the case at trial.
What Types of Discovery Can Be Used in a Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Federal and state rules of civil procedure govern the discovery process. The rules dictate the duties and responsibilities of each party when responding to discovery requests. They also explain the types of discovery and the limitations and scope of each discovery tool.
The types of discovery used in Florida personal injury lawsuits include, but may not be limited to:
Most parties use depositions to secure sworn out-of-court testimony and additional information to assist during their investigation. A court reporter places the witness under oath and records every word spoken during the deposition for the official transcript.
The attorney who set up the deposition asks the witness questions related to the case. The lawyers may agree to allow questions from both sides. Therefore, it is similar to testifying in court but without the official rules for testimony.
The information obtained in a deposition could be used to impeach a witness who changes their testimony at trial. An attorney may depose the other party and their witnesses. They may also depose expert witnesses the party intends to call at trial.
Interrogatories are questions posed to the other party, and they must be answered under oath. Interrogatories are an excellent tool for learning about witnesses the party intends to call at trial, a plaintiff’s prior injuries or accidents, the limits of insurance coverage, and other information relevant to the case.
Requests for Production of Documents
You can submit requests to the other party for documents related to the lawsuit. As with interrogatories, the party must answer the requests under oath.
The party must submit the requested documents unless they contain privileged information or there is a valid legal reason to object to the request. An attorney’s work product is privileged and not subject to a discovery request.
Parties respond that they are providing the document, do not have it, or have no knowledge of it. Requests for production allow each party to review the documents the other side intends to present as evidence during the trial.
Requests for Admissions
Requests for admissions are a list of statements related to the case. The other party must admit, deny, or state they have insufficient information to admit or deny the statement. The answers are given under oath and may be used to impeach a party if they change their answer while testifying in court.
This discovery tool is a way for the parties to narrow the issues in dispute for trial. The parties agree to facts not in dispute, so those facts do not need to be litigated during the court proceedings.
A subpoena is a court document requiring a person to appear at a deposition or testify in a personal injury case. You can also use a subpoena to obtain copies of documents, such as cell phone records to help prove that a driver was distracted or credit card statements to prove that a driver was drinking heavily before the accident.
How Long Does the Discovery Process Last in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
Discovery could take several months to complete. However, in some cases, it could be a lengthy process. Product liability and medical malpractice lawsuits often involve extensive and lengthy discovery phases.
The responses to discovery requests could also prolong the process. A party may be required to produce thousands of pages of documents to comply with a discovery request.
The receiving party must have time to review discovery responses. The responses could result in additional investigations or requests.
Our legal team will work diligently to ensure we pursue all discovery available in your case. We’ll meticulously analyze the responses and follow up to gather additional evidence proving your claim. At the end of the discovery phase, we’ll evaluate your lawsuit and discuss options for negotiating a settlement or proceeding to trial.
Our Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You Navigate the Discovery Process
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorney to learn more.