What is “Discovery” in a Personal Injury Case in Missouri?
Discovery is a process in which the parties to a lawsuit gather information from one another. This information can be used to support parties’ respective claims or defenses. In a personal injury case, discovery helps the parties understand the facts of the case and to ultimately prepare for trial.
There are two main types of discovery: written discovery and depositions.
Written discovery is a process in which one party asks the other party to provide information in response to written questions and requests. This information can be in the form of answers to questions, document production, or other tangible evidence.
The most common types of written discovery in personal injury cases include:
- Interrogatories: Interrogatories are a series of written questions that one party asks the other party. The questions must be answered under oath and must be answered fully and completely.
- Requests for Production of Documents: Requests for production of documents are a request for the other party to provide documents that are relevant to the case. This can include medical records, police reports, employment records, and any other documents that may be relevant.
- Requests for Admissions: Requests for admissions are a request for the other party to admit or deny certain facts. This can be helpful in narrowing the issues in the case and in avoiding disputes at trial.
Depositions involve one party questioning the other party (or relevant witnesses) under oath. Depositions are taken before a court reporter and can be used at trial.
Depositions are often used to gather information about the other party’s version of the facts. They can also be used to test the other party’s memory and to impeach their testimony at trial.
Discovery in a Missouri Personal Injury Case
The discovery process in a Missouri personal injury case is governed by the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules set forth the procedures for exchanging information and documents between the parties.
The discovery process is generally conducted in good faith and with the goal of uncovering the truth. However, there are some limits on what information can be discovered. For example, information that is privileged or confidential cannot be discovered.
The Importance of Discovery in a Personal Injury Case
Discovery is an important part of the personal injury litigation process. It allows both parties to gather information about the case and to prepare for trial. Discovery can also help to resolve cases before trial by providing the parties with an opportunity to exchange information and to negotiate a settlement.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of discovery in a personal injury case:
- Be organized. Keep track of all of the information that could potentially be relevant to your case. This will make it easier for your attorney to answer discovery and to more effectively prepare for trial.
- Ask questions. If you do not understand something, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
- Be thorough. Do not be afraid to provide your attorney any and all information that you think is relevant to your case.
- Be timely. Respond to discovery requests promptly. Failure to do so could result in sanctions from the court.
Discovery can be a complex process, but it is an important part of the personal injury litigation process. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that you get the information that you need to protect your rights.
If you have been injured in an accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can help guide you through the discovery process and protect your rights. Please reach out to The A.W. Smith Law Firm for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.