For a personal injury case, an accident may need to work with an experienced Philadelphia attorney to create a discovery plan in order to gather facts that would lead to evidence that can be introduced at trial for the establishing of damages.
A discovery plan is fact gathering document involving discovery techniques. After the filing of a complaint, and a defendant’s answer, the parties usually begin discovery to see what facts the other party has. In discovery, the information requested by a party not be admissible evidence. The information just needs to be relevant to the subject matter of the personal injury case.
Relevance means information that is reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence. In a personal injury case, a plaintiff may be confronted with these discovery techniques:
- Interrogatories: These are written questions propounded to a party in a lawsuit. The answers to interrogatories must be in writing under oath. This means the witness signs under penalty of perjury. If the person does not tell the truth, there may be criminal liability. Interrogatories gather background information about a party and accident. Such information may include damages, injuries, insurance data, existence of documents, names of witnesses.
- Requests for admissions: These are written requests to a party in a lawsuit to admit the truth of a fact or genuineness of a document.
- Requests for production of documents and things for inspection: These are requests to a party in the lawsuit to let the requesting party examine relevant documents or other items such as facilities.
- Requests for physical or mental exams: These requests generally require a court order to compel a party to submit to an exam when physical or mental state is in dispute. A plaintiff in an accident case may need to visit a doctor paid for by the defendant so that the defendant can make sure the plaintiff is really injured in the areas claimed, and get an opinion from the doctor on how long the injuries will last. A defendant may not agree to settle a case until the defendant gets an independent medical exam. When visiting the doctor, the plaintiff needs to be careful on what the plaintiff says and does because the doctor will summarize everything in a report for the defendant.
- Subpoena Duces Tecum: A subpoena is generally served with deposition notice to get documents or other tangible evidence from a party in the case or nonparty such as a witness to an accident.
- Deposition: This is an oral exam under oath of a witness who might have relevant information about the personal injury case.
Contact a personal injury attorney in the Philadelphia, PA area if you contemplate filing a wrongful death, personal injury, or workers’ compensation claim.