Discovery is the formal process where both parties to a lawsuit gather information about the case. This court procedure allows each party to request and receive evidence from the other side.
The following are examples of how discovery may be obtained in Florida:
- Oral and written depositions
- Written interrogatories
- Production of records and other documents
- Physical examinations
- Mental examinations
- Electronically stored information
Discovery helps both parties access important information that is relevant to the case. This process allows attorneys to demand evidence using the power of the court to enforce their requests.
Florida’s Discovery Rules
Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure govern the type of discovery that a party can request and how it can be initiated. In Florida, a party may obtain discovery regarding any relevant matter that is not privileged.
A party can conduct discovery using several different methods and in any sequence. Using interrogatories, a party may require another party to disclose any expert witnesses that are expected to be called to testify at trial. All parties are required to follow the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure when requesting discovery and complying with discovery requests.
What Are the Benefits of Discovery in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
Discovery can be a helpful tool to both parties as they gain information about the case. When used properly, discovery can show the other party how strong your case is. The process can ultimately help you avoid going to trial if the evidence is strong enough. Frequently, after discovery is complete, a defendant may be more willing to offer you a better settlement.
Types of Discovery in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Discovery often takes many forms depending on the case. Different forms of discovery may elicit different types of information from the other party.
The following types of discovery are permitted in Florida:
- Interrogatories: Interrogatories are written questions submitted by the other party. These questions are answered under oath.
- Depositions: Depositions are formal proceedings that take place under oath. In depositions, witnesses or parties to the case are required to answer questions orally.
- Requests for Admissions: Admissions require a party to acknowledge that certain facts are true.
- Subpoena: A subpoena is a court order that requires a party or witness to appear in court or produce documents.
- Inspection: An inspection allows one party to inspect property or documents that are possessed by another party.
- Examination: One party to a lawsuit is permitted to require the other party to submit to a physical or mental examination.
The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure provide several different avenues for pursuing discovery. This allows both parties the opportunity to gather relevant information and build a strong case.
Limitations on Discovery Requests
The discovery process often provides a wide margin of discretion for all parties involved in a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are limits in place as well.
All discovery requests must be relevant to the case. Parties are prohibited from requesting information or evidence that has no possibility of leading to relevant evidence. There are also certain types of privileged information that parties are prohibited from requesting.
Parties also cannot request discovery that would be unduly burdensome or overwhelmingly time-consuming for the other party to comply with. The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure set limitations on discovery of electronically stored information. A party may object to providing electronically stored data if the information is not reasonably accessible due to burden or cost.
Failure to Comply with Discovery Requests
A party cannot simply ignore a discovery request if they do not wish to comply. A party who does not want to respond to a discovery request should object or move to quash the subpoena.
If one party fails to respond to a discovery request, both parties should work together to resolve the issue. If the party continues to refuse to comply with the discovery request, the other party can file a motion to compel the production of discovery.
A Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You During the Discovery Process
Understanding the discovery process in Florida can help you prepare yourself if you are injured in an accident. If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you will likely find yourself participating in the discovery process.
Responding to discovery may be frustrating and embarrassing at times. The other party may seek to get your medical records or salary information.
Sometimes a party may seek to obtain irrelevant information through discovery requests. It can be difficult to navigate this process by yourself. If you find yourself in this situation, an experienced Jacksonville personal injury lawyer can help you respond to these requests.
Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay your attorney unless your case is successful. Call us at (904) 396-1100 If you were in an accident and need help with your personal injury case, contact Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.