All successful personal injury claims are backed by strong, well-organized supporting evidence. Discovery is a pre-trial procedure through which evidence that may not otherwise be accessible can be gathered and prepared. Discovery is one of the most important aspects of the personal injury claims process.Here, our personal injury lawyers answer some common questions about discovery in accident claims.
As defined by the Legal Information Institute, discovery is a pre-trial process in a lawsuit through which each party can obtain evidence and information held by the other party. Essentially, parties to a legal dispute exchange evidence in a structured manner. Depending on the circumstances of the case, discovery may involve the production of documents and records, written answers to questions (interrogatories), and oral depositions. Under New York law, a defendant/insurer must cooperate with the discovery process. Failure to do so could result in adverse inferences being made in favor of the plaintiff.
Discovery allows plaintiffs to gather and secure all of the information they need to bring a successful claim. In many personal injury cases, the defendants hold relevant evidence that would otherwise be difficult for the victim to access. As an example, a trucking company may have driver history or inspection records that provide insight as to why your crash occurred. Discovery will ensure that you get copies of those records. If discovery is not conducted properly, some relevant evidence may be ‘missed’—thereby making it more challenging to recover full and fair financial compensation.
Not necessarily. It is possible to settle a personal injury claim without going through discovery. If the defendant/insurance company is cooperating and appears willing to accept liability and offer complete financial compensation, then the case may be able to move towards a settlement without discovery. If there is any sort of dispute, discovery is necessary. Discovery is one of the first steps after a lawsuit is filed.
Discovery is complicated. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as merely asking the defendant/insurer to turn over all relevant information. In many cases, counterparties try to drag their feet and look for reasons not to turn over evidence. An experienced personal injury lawyer will make sure that discovery is conducted in the proper manner. Ultimately, discovery will build the foundation of your case. You need access to all relevant documents, records, testimony, and other evidence.
At Richmond Vona, LLC, our New York personal injury lawyers provide reliable, results-focused legal advocacy to clients. If you have questions about the discovery process, we can help. For a free, confidential review of your personal injury claim, please contact our firm now. We represent plaintiffs in Buffalo and throughout Western New York, including in Erie County, Niagara County, Monroe County, and Livingston County.