Discovery Process in Georgia Personal Injury Cases
Although most Georgia personal injury cases never see the inside of a courtroom due to being settled before a lawsuit is ever filed, the process that personal injury attorneys in Atlanta and throughout Georgia go through in order to come to a settlement is much the same as if they were preparing for trial.
One of the main elements of a personal injury case in Georgia that is essential, regardless of whether the case is moving toward settlement or trial, is the "discovery process."
If a lawsuit is filed, the discovery process allows both sides to collect the information they feel is valid to establishing their legal position or explore the evidence supporting the legal position of the other side. Once a lawsuit is filed, the idea is that each side must provide information requested by the other side as long as it is relevant to the litigation and not subject to a valid objection. If one side is not willing to give up information to the other, that information can be subpoenaed. This makes the other side give up the information under the force of the law.
Georgia personal injury cases require all sorts of different evidentiary information, and obtaining this information can make or break a case. Some examples of what might be requested during the discovery process are:
- Phone records
- Written witness statements
- Medical records
- Financial information
- Accident reports
There are three common methods of discovery that are common in Georgia personal injury litigation:
The party can be asked to provide written answers to questions, called interrogatories, that may inquire about the other side's legal position and factual evidence. A party can also be asked to admit or deny specific facts that are involved in a case, which are called "requests for admission."
Both sides can request any and all documents that they feel relate to the case in any way. The amount of documents in most legal cases is staggering. Because so many records are now kept in digital form, courts are allowing access to computer files to be used as documentation.
A deposition involves an attorney to interview and ask questions of the opposing side while they are under oath, with the questions and answers documented by a court stenographer. A deposition is conducted outside of a courtroom. If an attorney conducts an effective deposition, the attorney can get the other party to commit to their version of the facts. It is also a chance to get a feel for the other party and how a jury might respond to the person. A deposition may also be taken of other people besides the named parties, such as witnesses, expert witnesses, etc.
This is why an attorney will often tell their clients that it is important that they tell their own lawyer everything. The discovery process can uncover everything and anything. It does not help your case to try to hide something from your attorney because it will typically come out in discovery. Generally, your attorney can best diffuse the impact of damaging information by knowing about it up front, versus being blindsided by the other side. The discovery process is a protracted and time-consuming process that can take up a substantial amount of time in a Georgia personal injury lawsuit.
At Montlick & Associates, our Georgia personal injury attorneys investigate the circumstances of our client’s accident and use the discovery process to help obtain compensation for injury victims. Our Georgia personal injury attorneys also attempt to negotiate a successful conclusion with the other party's attorney or the other party's insurance company. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed by the negligent or intentional conduct of another, contact Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, to learn how we can help. Our Georgia personal injury attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.