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Charlotte Law Blog

Utilizing the Discovery Process in Your NC Personal Injury Case

On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Personal Injury on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

 

Filing a lawsuit is the first step in the process of bringing your case to trial. Despite the proof you may already have, you will need to gather all of the evidence necessary to prove every element of your case. Your Charlotte personal injury attorney will then begin what is referred to as the “discovery process.” Effective use of this process is critical for the success of your case.

At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we help accident victims across navigate our legal system. We know how to use discovery to build the strongest case possible, as we fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence and don’t know what to do next, call us at (980) 237-4579, or our online contact form to schedule a free consultation of your case.

What is Discovery?

Discovery refers to a number of tools that attorneys use to collect evidence. It takes place outside of the courtroom, but is done under the supervision of the court. If the other party fails to respond, it could result in negative consequences including the entry of a judgment against them. Discovery can be useful in uncovering facts about your case that were previously unknown, but can also help you evaluate the strength of the case against you. There are four main tools used by lawyers during the discovery phase of your case:

  • Oral depositions
  • Interrogatories
  • Request for production of documents
  • Request for admissions

Depositions

A deposition is an in-person, question-and-answer session between the parties and their attorneys. Although they take place outside the courtroom, depositions are taken under oath, with a court reporter to transcribe the oral testimony of the parties. Depositions are a good opportunity to question the witnesses testifying for the other side to determine the strength of their testimony. Depositions can also be useful for uncovering factual inaccuracies, or as a way to prevent witnesses from changing their testimony at trial.

Interrogatories

Interrogatories are similar to a deposition, but they are completed in a written format. The interrogatories are served upon the party who needs to respond, and they must answer within 30 days. If they object to the questions asked, they must serve written objections upon you explaining why they should not be required to respond. Like depositions, interrogatories are useful in determining the facts of the case, as well as preventing witnesses from changing their testimony at trial.

Request for Production of Documents

This can allow you to get any documents you may think you need to prove your case. Some documents you may request in the context of a personal injury case:

  • Records regarding similar accidents to establish that the defendant knew or should have known an accident was likely
  • Copies of police records and accident reports
  • Copies of insurance records
  • Copies of medical records

You may already have copies of some of these records, but there may be other records that are helpful to your case. Also, you do not need to identify the specific record you are seeking – you can simply request that they produce any documents that meet a specific fact you are trying to establish. However, the request needs to be carefully worded to be effective.

Request for Admissions

This can be a very useful tool for streamlining the facts and issues in your case. In a request for admissions, the parties are attempting to reach an agreement as to what facts or other details are not in dispute. This allows the attorneys to focus their attention on the elements of your case that are truly important.

Contact a Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney for Help

Litigating a personal injury case is more complicated than it appears, and success is often determined before you even get to the courthouse. The discovery phase is critical, and knowing how to navigate the process is essential to getting the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you do not need to pursue your claim on your own – the Charlotte personal injury attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC can help. Call us at (980) 237-4579, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case consultation.