Personal injury discovery is an investigation process your case will go through if you file a lawsuit. The discovery allows each side, the plaintiff and defense, to know more about the opposing side's case. Below are some areas to focus on during discovery.
You should know as much as possible about the defendant's witnesses. For example, you should know the witnesses' identities, claims, and relationships (if any) with the defendant. You should also know about the witnesses' backgrounds. The opposing witnesses' information can help you discredit their testimony, attack their credibility, and weaken the defendant's case.
Consider a case where you learn a witness has a previous perjury conviction. You can use this information to weaken the witness's credibility. Sometimes, the defendant might even decide not to use the witness once you get such information about them.
Potential Liable Parties
Just because you have a case against one party doesn't mean they are the only one liable for your damages. The case's discovery phase allows you to dig deep into the accident or incident that led to your injury. You can then use the information to know whether you can hold other parties liable for the accident.
Consider an auto accident case against an intoxicated driver. You can use the discovery phase to find out where the driver got the alcohol that intoxicated them. If it turns out that a bar over-served the driver with liquor, you can use dram shop laws to hold the bar liable for the accident.
Often, an injury defendant's insurance company pays the settlement or award. Thus, you should know more about the defendant's insurance situation before the case begins. You should know:
- Whether the defendant has insurance coverage
- The number and nature of insurance policies the defendant holds
- The defendant's insurance limits
For example, many homeowners use homeowner's insurance to compensate visitors who suffer injuries on their properties. However, the homeowner's umbrella liability insurance offers additional compensation if the home insurance is inadequate. Thus, it pays to know whether a defendant has multiple insurance policies.
Any lawyer will tell you the folly of being blindsided with strange evidence during the trial. You should know as much as possible about the defendant's evidence. Otherwise, you might not know how to overcome the evidence and get compensation.
Say an auto accident defendant claims your car was defective, and the defect probably contributed to the crash. Use the discovery to find out how the defendant plans to prove this claim (maybe they have information on a car recall that affects your car's make and model). That way, you can prepare to counter the defense.
Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more.