Easing The Litigation Experience

Requests For Discovery — What Your Personal Injury Opponent May Ask For

Many accident victims are unfamiliar with how civil lawsuits work. Unfortunately, this means you'll encounter a number of potentially confusing and even counterintuitive elements when you must pursue a personal injury case. 

One of these often unfamiliar experiences is the giving and receiving of requests for discovery. Discovery is the ability of both parties to request certain information from the other in order to build their case. It seems counterproductive, but such requests are the right and responsibility of both sides. Here's what you need to know about the three common types of requests.

1. Request for Admissions

A request for admission is a request for the individual to either admit or deny a particular fact of the case. For example, the defendant may ask you to admit or deny that you were driving your vehicle at the time of the accident. 

You may admit or deny the fact, or you may object to the question for such reasons as vague wording or irrelevance. However, failure to answer at all may cause the court to consider your nonresponse as an answer favorable to the other side. 

2. Request for Documents

You may be asked to provide certain documents or tangible objects to the other side as well. This could range from a copy of your driver's license or proof of insurance to a specific part of the damaged car or access to the vehicle to inspect it. 

Responding to document requests can be more complicated than admissions. You may be able to simply provide the item or document, but you may also respond that the requestor will be given access to something when they request it. If you don't have the item, simply state this. And, as with other requests, you may object to these requests when appropriate.

3. Interrogatories

An interrogatory is a list of questions to which you provide written answers. The court usually places a limit on how many questions each side may ask. You and the other party must swear that your answers are true by signing a verification page. 

Interrogatories are often the most challenging type of discovery request and should be carefully considered with counsel before you respond. Your goal is generally to provide truthful answers without giving away unnecessary information. 

Where to Get Help

Whether you've already received any requests for discovery or are unsure how to approach tricky aspects of your personal injury evidence, the best place to get help is from an experienced personal injury attorney in your state. For more information, contact a personal injury attorney near you.