What Is the Discovery Phase of a Personal Injury Case?

Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2022 at 8:31 am    

There are several phases to a personal injury lawsuit. The money that you can recover can make a world of difference when you’re paying your medical bills and worrying about your lost wages. The better you understand the process, the greater your chances of success. When you work with a California personal injury attorney, you’ll have knowledge and experience on your side.

The decisions you make immediately after an accident are incredibly important to your personal injury case. You should get immediate medical help and keep copies of all your medical records and medical bills. This ensures that your injuries are properly treated and can help prove your injuries were a result of the accident.

The accident should be reported as soon as possible, and you should keep the California statute of limitations in mind. This is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in pursuit of compensation. In California, you must file your lawsuit with the courts within two years of the date of the accident. If you don’t’ file by the deadline, you’ll miss your opportunity to pursue compensation through the court system.

Once you file an insurance claim, which is different from filing a lawsuit, your claim will go through several stages:

  • Preliminary investigation
  • Demand for compensation letter to the insurance company or at-fault party
  • Formal lawsuit for damages filed in the court
  • Discovery
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • Trial, if negotiations fail

What Is Discovery?

The discovery phase is part of pre-trial preparation. It is one of the longest phases. The purpose of this process is to avoid delays during a trial since each side will have all the information needed to move forward in court.

It’s the time when both parties exchange relevant information that’s related to the accident. This can include witness statements, details of medical treatment, proof of damages, and how the accident happened. There are a variety of tools used during discovery that can support your case.

During discovery, you may be asked questions by the opposing counsel. This is also an opportunity to request information from any of the other parties involved. In California, this phase of a personal injury lawsuit is governed by the Civil Discovery Act of 1986.

What Are the Steps During Discovery?

It is important to make your insurance claim and secure the services of a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. The average length of time for discovery can range from six months to one year, depending on the complexity of the case.

Investigation of the claim can take several months, and negotiations can also take several months. Steps during discovery include:

Interrogatories: This is another word for questions. Interrogatories are a chance for one side to question the other. The attorneys will send a set of questions to the opposing party. All of these must be answered honestly and to the best of the defendant’s or plaintiff’s ability.

California law limits attorneys to 35 interrogatories with the requirement that a response must be sent within 30 days. Interrogatories are useful in personal injury cases as they help determine underlying factors that may not have come out in witness statements or a police report.

For example, attorneys can inquire about alcohol consumption, even if the driver was not over the legal limit. In the case of a dog bite injury, the attorney can inquire if the dog has ever shown any prior aggressive behavior.

Production of documents: During this phase of discovery, attorneys from each side can request certain documents. This helps the opposing parties to learn more about the case and prepare for negotiation or trial. The documents can include things like photos of the injury, lost wages report, medical bills, and accident reports.

Request for admission of facts: The attorney for the plaintiff must prove several facts that support the claim. However, not all these facts may be contested by the defendant. The process of proving uncontested facts can waste time and money. Therefore, each attorney can request that the other side admits to facts that may be uncontested before negotiation or trial.

Depositions: This is the final stage of discovery and probably the one you’re most familiar with. Depositions are often part of movies and television shows. A deposition takes place under oath and is recorded by a court reporter and possibly a videographer.

During a deposition, the attorneys ask questions of witnesses and the other party. This allows attorneys to prepare a trial strategy and offers the opportunity to develop other questions they can ask in open court.

Contact Tiemann Law Firm if You Were Injured Because of Someone Else’s Negligence

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligent behavior, you may be entitled to compensation. This money can help pay your medical bills and replace lost wages if you have been unable to work.

Call our office today at (916) 999-9000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

Client Testimonials

Elizabeth Ochoa Testimonial
Quote

I chose Tiemann Law Firm to help me after a car accident I was involved in. Throughout the entire process, Moe made sure to keep me updated, he always responded quickly whenever  I had questions about anything. My case won thanks to this law firm and its dedication. My experience with Tiemann Law Firm was amazing! 10/10 recommended.

Dawniel Ewing Testimonial
Quote

I have nothing but great things to say about this firm. They have been extremely helpful and professional when dealing with my case. Anytime I needed anything or wanted to be updated they responded immediately. They made me feel like they cared. Highly recommend them!

Michael T. Testimonial
Quote

I sat down and met with Jelena Tiemann about my vehicle accident.I presented all of my documentation to her in which she gave me her assessment.Although the Tiemann Law Firm wont be representing me because my settlement offer was pretty good she was very clear,forward and professional about what she felt could and couldn't be done.I recommend this law firm to anyone who needs a helping hand at fighting a case where you don't have to worry about the outcome not going in your favor. Please don't review this business if you received a freebie for writing this review, or if you're connected in any way to the owner or employees.

Herb T. Testimonial
Quote

The Tiemanns were referred to me by a friend and I am exceptionally happy with the service I received. I had never been in an accident before. I had no idea what to do. Jelena verbally explained how everything would work to me, and she and Peter handled everything. I didn't have to lift a finger once. They went above and beyond for me and I am extremely grateful. I pray I won't ever need this type of assistance again, but I will definitely be referring them to friends and family.

Jennifer T. Testimonial
Quote

I highly recommend The Tiemann Law Firm! I had never before been in a situation where I sustained injury and had to seek legal representation. I was nervous, traumatized, and had no idea what to expect. Jelena, Peter, and their staff walked me through each step of the process. They explained everything in detail. They patiently answered all my questions, responded quickly to every email, text message, phone call, etc. I felt totally prepared for each new phase of the legal process. Furthermore, they were fearless in their defense of me. In certain situations, when I felt attacked or scared my attorney protected me like I was family. Their diligence, honesty, integrity, and compassion provided a true sense of healing and closure for my family and I. The Tiemann Law Firm accomplished more for me than I ever thought possible and I am forever grateful.

Hanna Padilla Testimonial
Quote

From the very start of my case the Tiemann Law Firm was wonderful. Perter came all the way to my home to sit down and talk to me about my options. He made me and my partner feel very comfortable and promised us he would take the very best care of my case. Peter kept me informed every step of the way and was always on top of things. everything was done in a timely manor and I always felt like I was the only case he was working on because he was so fast. In the end Peter got me back way more money than I ever expected. I would recommend this law firm to everyone. I am very happy with the outcome of my case thanks to the Tiemann Law Firm! Thank you!

S.B. Testimonial
Quote

Here's the thing... Nobody really thinks much about lawyers until they need one.  Well, we needed one!  The Tieman Law Firm came through for us in a big way. They were professional, courteous, thorough, and had excellent staff as well.  Highly recommended...

Star Fire Testimonial
Quote

It is hard to put into words the care and dedication that I received from the Tiemann’s. They have been here for me every step of the way and were always available when I had questions or concerns. My husband and I will be forever grateful for everything they have done for us and our family. Thank you so much for all of the hard work and time you have put into my case, we greatly appreciate it and your friendship. We highly recommend this firm and will always be thankful for everything they have done. Thank you so much again, Kim

Jereme S. Testimonial
Quote

No one wants to have to hire a lawyer, but if you do. I prefer Tiemann Law. They helped a family member who was injured on the job, and the company did not want to compensate him even though, the injury occurred on the job on company time. Jelena was always professional in explaining the lengthy process of fighting a large corporation. 2 years later he finally is receiving the deserved compensation.

Maye Ly Testimonial
Quote

I just saw my lawyer Jelena Tiemann on a t.v ad, which reminded me how much she helped when I was in a desperate situation. I just love her! That is why I feel a need to tell everyone. I had a situation that happened & didn’t know what to do, our where to go. I didn’t even know if she could help me or if any lawyer could. All I wanted was it to go away & was afraid most lawyers wanted to drag it out & possibly go to court. For one she was very professional but was very personable (maybe b.c she’s a lady). She didn’t make me feel embarrassed or self-conscious that I did something wrong or was the cause of the situation. She immediately said we should try our best before going to court. Let me handle some paperwork, if at the last we do go to court we have documents. She gave me all the details, pros and cons but reassured me she deals with these cases all the time. She came through and made it as painless as possible. I now have my life back.

Matt H. Testimonial
Quote

I was in a car accident a while back where I was injured and had to miss work for an extended period of time.  After nearly a year of fighting with the insurance company with no results and no progress, I met with Jelena Tiemann.  I couldn't have asked for a more responsive and supportive advocate.  We quickly reached a settlement and I finally was able to move from the stress and burden of feuding with my insurance.  I highly recommending meeting with Jelena if you're in need of a lawyer.

Jennifer Birdseye Testimonial
Quote

Tiemann Law Firm helped us with an injury case for my nephew. They were very knowledgeable and we are very happy with the service they provided. The entire staff is topnotch!

Lendzey Garcia
Quote

I was in a very bad/ major car accident I originally had an attorney who wasn’t trying to help me out much or take any of my calls so I called Tiemann and told them my situation. They made it an AWESOME and Smooth transition over to them and took on both cases I had. I just settled on my big case and am beyond great full. For them and their team! I highly recommend them. To add on to this a little On how much they will work with you, I moved to Montana in the middle of all Of this and it was not an issue!