Once you file a lawsuit, both parties begin a process referred to as discovery. During this period, which usually lasts six months to a year, the parties to the lawsuit compile information and evidence to make their cases. This process includes evaluating injuries, obtaining medical records, examining police reports, obtaining oral depositions, gathering witnesses and investigating all other aspects of the claim. This pretrial period is also the time when both sides exchange settlement offers and demands in an attempt to settle the case before going to trial.
There are two main discovery methods in an Oklahoma personal injury case:
Written Discovery in an Oklahoma Personal Injury Case
Written discovery methods in an Oklahoma personal injury case include the following:
Interrogatories, which are written questions exchanged between the plaintiff in an Oklahoma personal injury case and the defendant. The questions must usually be answered in writing within 20-30 days.
In Oklahoma, you may be asked up to 30 questions, which must pertain to your personal injury case or have the potential to elicit an answer pertaining to the case.
Request for the production of documents, which is a written request made by one party to another for copies of certain documents pertaining to an Oklahoma personal injury case. These documents typically include accident reports, written statements from witnesses, medical records, insurance policies and similar documents.
Request for admissions, which is a written request to the other party to admit or deny certain facts pertaining to an Oklahoma personal injury case. The admission of certain facts can reduce the length of the trial by reducing the number of facts that must be proven.
For example, if the defendant admits he or she disobeyed a traffic law, negligence may not need to be proven and the case will move along faster. However, if the party denies the fact and the other party proves it to be true during the trial, the judge may order the denying party to compensate the other for any legal expense incurred in proving the fact.
Depositions in an Oklahoma Personal Injury Case
A deposition is a procedure that involves verbal questioning of the defendant or plaintiff in an Oklahoma personal by an attorney while under oath. The answers provided to these questions will be recorded by a court reporter for use in the trial.
Depositions are used to “lock in” your testimony, which can then be used by the other attorney to undermine anything you say to the contrary in court. Therefore, you and your attorney will likely go over the questions you might be asked in a deposition to insure that you answer the questions truthfully, but in a manner that is in the best interest of your personal injury claim.
The Length of Discovery in an Oklahoma Personal Injury Case
Discovery usually lasts six months to a year. For complex cases, such as medical malpractice, it can be even longer. The biggest contributing factor to the length of discovery is the prognosis of your injuries. It may take some time before the full extent of some injuries can be assessed. Therefore, it is in a claimant’s best interest to be fully aware of the extent of any permanent impairment, and the amount of the medical treatment needed before accepting any settlement offer or going to trial.
Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident, consult with an experienced Oklahoma City personal injury attorney to get the compensation you deserve. A call to Personal Injury Law Office of Oklahoma City costs you nothing, but the information you receive could be invaluable. You can reach a skilled personal injury attorney at (405) 716-HURT (716-4878).
If you prefer, you may send your question via e-mail using the form at the top right of this page. We’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible. Don’t wait another minute to find out what you may be owed. Call Personal Injury Law Office of Oklahoma City today!