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What is Discovery in a Personal Injury Case in Georgia?

Posted in Personal Injury on June 15, 2020

If you or somebody you love has been injured in Georgia due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, company, or entity, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, understanding how these cases work can be incredibly complicated. After a personal injury lawsuit is initiated, there are various phases that the lawsuit will go through. One of the phases is called the “discovery process.”

Personal injury discovery

What is the discovery process?

Most personal injury claims are handled out of court through insurance settlements. However, if a lawsuit is filed and delivered to the defendant, the discovery phase will begin.

The discovery phase is the process that will be used by attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant (the injury victim and the alleged at-fault party). This phase is used so that both sides can gain a deep understanding of the facts surrounding the case. When a claim is first filed, the injured party knows only the facts from their standpoint and the at-fault party will only know the facts from their perspective.

As the name suggests, the discovery phase is the process that will allow every party involved to “discover” the information that the other side knows.

What Types of discoveries are there in these situations?

Interrogatories

This simply means that questions will be asked of both parties. Interrogatories are sets of questions sent from one party to the other. The answers provided in interrogatories should be honest to the best of the ability of both sides. If either party learns of new information after their answers are submitted, they are then required to resubmit their answers with this new information. Interrogatories are very common in personal injury cases.

Requests for production of documents

Both parties in a personal injury lawsuit request documents from the other side that are relevant to the case being made. For example, medical bills and proof of lost income are commonly requested in the discovery phase, along with any photos or video surveillance from the accident scene. Medical records will also be requested by the defendant if the personal injury victim is seeking compensation for their injuries.

Requests for admission of facts

If a personal injury case goes to trial, the plaintiff has a burden of proof concerning the facts of the case. However, in an effort to save time and money, the plaintiff can choose to submit Request for Admission of certain facts of the case that are undisputed or uncontested. This allows for the admission of facts in a trial without having to call on witnesses or convince a jury on issues that nobody is contesting.

Depositions

Depositions are tools each party will use to question the other or to question witnesses who have knowledge of the case. A deposition requires that a person answering the question be sworn to tell the truth under oath, and anything they say can be used in court. Depositions usually happen in the presence of a court reporter who will produce a transcript for both parties. Depositions typically occur outside of the courthouse at an attorney’s office.

Is there a time limit for these cases?

It is important to understand the Georgia law typically places a two-year statute of limitations on these cases. That means that the injury victim have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Failing to file a personal injury claim in Atlanta within this timeframe will likely result in the injury victim being unable to secure compensation for their losses.

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