Discovery in a personal injury case is an opportunity for each side to investigate and gather information. It is a formal court procedure that permits both parties and their attorneys to demand evidence from one another using the court’s powers.
The purpose of discovery in a personal injury lawsuit is to narrow the issues in the case and ensure that all relevant evidence is available to both parties. In this article, we discuss discovery in Florida personal injury lawsuits.
Florida’s Discovery Rules
Florida’s discovery rules are located in Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules cover the types of things a party can request and how to initiate discovery. Florida’s discovery rules also contain guidelines that address when the court can intervene if a party fails to answer a discovery request or the parties disagree about what must be produced.
Both parties to a personal injury lawsuit must follow Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure when preparing and responding to discovery requests.
Benefits of Discovery in a Florida Personal Injury Case
When used properly, discovery can be a helpful tool for a Florida injury victim.
In addition to being an excellent way to gather information, it’s one of the most useful ways to show the other party the strength of one’s case and work towards resolving the matter through a settlement. A defendant who knows that the plaintiff has strong evidence will likely come to the table with a fair settlement without needing to take the case to trial.
Types of Discovery
Discovery takes many forms. In Florida, the following types of discovery are permitted:
- Interrogatories: Interrogatories are written questions that a party must answer under oath.
- Depositions: A deposition is a proceeding in which a witness or adverse party is required to respond to questions orally.
- Admissions: Admissions request one party to a lawsuit to admit that certain facts are true.
- Subpoena: A subpoena is a court order to a party or witness that requires the recipient to appear or produce certain records.
- Inspection: An inspection occurs when one party inspects property that is in the possession of another party.
- Examination: The rules of discovery permit one party to a lawsuit to require the other party to submit to a physical or mental exam.
Although the discovery process grants broad discretion to the parties to a lawsuit, it does have its limits. For example, all discovery must be relevant to the legal matter. In other words, a party to a lawsuit may only request relevant information or evidence that has the potential to lead to relevant evidence.
In addition, a party can’t request discovery for the purpose of unduly burdening or overwhelming the other party. Also, a discovery request may not attempt to obtain certain types of privileged information.
Failure to Comply With Discovery Requests
A party that doesn’t want to respond to a discovery request may object or move to quash a subpoena. However, a party who does so must follow the rules and procedures to object to the other party’s discovery request.
And if the other party fails to respond to a discovery request, the requesting party can file a motion to compel the production of discovery, which brings the issue to the court’s attention.
However, before making such a motion, the requesting party must talk to the other side to attempt to resolve the issue informally. If a motion to compel is successful, the court may order the non-compliant party to pay the requesting party’s attorney fees for the expense of filing the motion to compel.
A Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You During the Discovery Process
As an accident victim in the state of Florida, it’s important to understand how the discovery process works in a Florida personal injury lawsuit. It’s also necessary to be aware of the common discovery-related issues that can arise in a personal injury case.
For example, the other party may try to seek embarrassing and irrelevant information to attempt to make you give up on your case. Examples of such information include medical records that aren’t relevant to the claim or other irrelevant personal information. Fortunately, an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer can shut down these types of requests.
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Florida, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe anything unless your case is successful.
If you need help with your injury case or you want to learn more information, please contact the motorcycle accident law firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500 or visit the nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.