The Discovery Process in Injury Lawsuits
After a personal injury lawsuit is filed in the state of Florida, both the Plaintiff and the Defendant engage in what is known as the “Discovery” process. Generally, under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, parties have the right to do the following: ask the other side to answer written questions under oath, ask the other side to admit or deny certain facts, ask the other side to produce documents, take a Deposition (sworn statement of the other party), and inspect the area where the injury occurred (with permission). Also, the Defendant has the right to have the Plaintiff be seen for a medical examination by one of their doctors. This article will focus only on the following: Interrogatories (written questions answered under oath), Requests for Production (exchanging documents), and Requests for Admissions (admitting or denying certain facts).
Table of Contents
Each party to a lawsuit may send the other party up to 30 written questions. Under the Rules, a party must answer the questions, under oath, within 30 days. There are standard questions that are usually asked in every case. Generally, the Defendant will want to learn about your background, your work history, whether your have been through the criminal justice system, how the accident occurred, what doctors you have seen (both for this accident and in the past 10 years), whether you have previously been injured, what injuries you are claiming were caused by the accident, and the amount of your medical bills. Your attorney will guide you in answering these questions.
Requests for Admissions.
The purpose of Requests for Admissions is to try and narrow the issues in the lawsuit. For example, the Defendant may want to know if you have ever been in a car accident before. So, his or her attorney will send a Request asking the Plaintiff to “Admit or deny that you have been in a car accident before this accident occurred.” Or, a Plaintiff may send a Request asking the Defendant to “Admit or Deny that he/she was using a cell phone at the time of the car accident.” Each side has the right to have the other side admit or deny up to 30 facts. A party served with Requests for Admissions must respond within 30 days or else the facts contained within it will be deemed admitted. Your attorney will answer these questions on your behalf with your assistance.
Requests for Production.
A Request for Production is simply a request for documents in the possession, custody, or control of a party. Most of the time, the documents that a Defendant will request will involve the following subjects: medical records, medical bills, health insurance payment information, copies of tax returns (if you are claiming lost wages), and copies of past medical treatment records. You have 30 days to provide the requested documents to the other side.
Contact Englander Peebles Today.
Englander Peebles is a South Florida personal injury law firm. Our attorneys have years of experience in guiding our clients through the Discovery process. Our attorneys meet with each of our clients in person to make sure that they have a full understanding of the questions being asked of them. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Englander Peebles today for a free consultation at (954) 500-4878.
At Englander Peebles, we understand the pressure people face when they are seriously hurt in an accident and are facing off against a large insurance company. As the bills mount, so does the stress. And the most frustrating part is that you can be victimized a second time if the insurance company refuses to pay in full, putting your financial future in jeopardy.