Our Auto Accident Attorney San Diego Elaborates on Fact-Finding and the Discovery Process
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Posted in News & Articles | Posted by: George Heppner - San Diego Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident, our auto accident attorney San Diego claimants trust may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. The American legal system is based on the premise that there should be as few unexpected occurrences as possible in a lawsuit. The federal court system has required that all parties disclose all relevant facts to the other side before trial. Most states also have laws that support this value. Disclosure occurs through a structured process known as discovery, which takes three separate forms. The three forms are written discovery, document production and depositions.
Written discovery includes interrogatories and requests for admission. Interrogatories are the most common type of written discovery. Interrogatories are questions that solicit your version of the facts. They may be pre-written form interrogatories or specific questions that are designed for your case. These special interrogatories may be vague or highly specific attempts to ascertain your versions of the facts surrounding an event. Interrogatories are not always fair or easy to understand, which is why you may benefit from having an auto accident attorney San Diego residents trust on your side. Requests for admission are far less common than interrogatories, but they are often a powerful tool. Requests for admission ask you to admit or deny various facts surrounding the case. There are penalties for not answering these questions or for answering them in a false manner. Sometimes there are also penalties for answering late.
Document Production is a process that requires you to produce any documents that are relevant to your case. Document production is particularly common in medical malpractice cases, which can involve a significant amount of documentation. More courts are beginning to allow access to computer documents during the discovery process. In rare cases, courts allow litigants to reconstruct deleted emails and other lost files for review.
Depositions, or sworn statements, are given in front of a court reporter who makes a transcript of the entire process. All questions come from an attorney, making deposition a stressful event for many litigants. Depositions can range from an hour to upwards of a week, and each attorney has his own deposition strategy. There are three primary reasons to agree to a deposition, including assessment of the other side’s arguments, the chance to practice in a trial-like setting, and to determine how each witness will present themselves in court. Your attorney will advise you on what you should do during a deposition. The primary purpose of a deposition is to state facts, so avoid speculating as to events you are not sure of. Admitting that you do not know what happened in a certain event is perfectly acceptable during a deposition, and always preferable to guessing. While it is normal to want to explain things, you should avoid doing so at the cost of accuracy and certainty.
The Discovery Process
The first thing to remember is that it is likely that all of the relevant facts will come out in the discovery process, so you should always be honest. Being honest with your attorney is the best way to ensure success. While accuracy is desirable in all circumstances during a deposition, there is a significant difference between accidentally misunderstanding something and purposely deceiving the court. The latter could have serious consequences for your lawsuit and even result in penalties of perjury. Discovery can take a long time and be very intrusive and agitating, so it is important to be aware of the potential scrutiny you will face before you file a lawsuit.
Working with an Attorney
You should take the discovery process seriously as it has a major influence on the results of your trial. During the discovery stage, the opposing counsel will attempt to discredit your narrative in every possible way. Having a lawyer at your side is the best defense against opposing counsel. An attorney can tell you what to say and which topics to avoid, if possible, optimizing your discovery strategy and maximizing you chances at success in court.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney San Diego Courts Respect
Call George Charles Heppner today at (619) 235-4300 to get representation from an auto accident attorney San Diego claimants trust.