How is Discovery Handled in a Slip & Fall Case?
Slip and fall cases are very common and can cause minor to severe injuries. The litigation process for a slip and fall case will require a thorough investigation. Part of that investigation will include obtaining discovery from the defense. Discovery is the information that is obtained to prepare the case, and the defense team is required to turn over certain information. If you were involved in a slip and fall case and need assistance, contact us today for a consultation.
How to Handle Discovery
Obtaining discovery is a complicated process if you aren’t an experienced professional. Before doing anything, you should speak with and hire an attorney to help you. Once you have discussed the case with your lawyer, they will take steps to obtain all mandatory discovery from the defense.
Phases of Discovery
The interrogatory phase is an important part of discovery. This involves both the defendant and the plaintiff being interviewed and required to answer certain questions. The questions will be sent to the other party in written form, and they will be required to answer. The answers must be signed under oath, and each party must respond to all of the questions.
Demand for Production
In addition to interrogatories, a demand for production is an essential part of the discovery process. As the plaintiff, you and your lawyer will send the defense a demand for production, which requires them to hand over certain documents. In some cases, a demand for production entitles you to inspect a particular location. In a slip and fall case, this will likely be the scene of the accident and the surrounding areas.
Requests for Admission
A request for admission is often sent over with the demand for production. This includes a set of statements that the defendant must admit or deny. This allows the plaintiff to narrow down what the issues will be at trial.
Requests for Medical Records
When you are the plaintiff in a slip and fall case, the defendant will be entitled to request your medical records. These are critical to show your injuries and the prognosis. If you were severely injured and will be out of work for a significant amount of time or if you will require substantial treatment now and in the future, this can justify why you are entitled to compensation.
As part of the request for your medical records, the defendant’s attorney will also want to see your medical history. This is so they can determine if you had any past ailments that would have played a part in your slip and fall or the injuries you suffered. For example, are you prone to dizziness and fainting spells due to a medical condition? Do you have high blood pressure or a muscular disorder that could have impacted your fall and injuries? If so, the defense will use this to argue that you don’t deserve the compensation you’re asking for or any compensation at all.
Independent Medical Examinations
In some circumstances, the defendant’s attorney will request the plaintiff to undergo an independent medical examination from what is supposed to be an unbiased third party.
The next step in the discovery phase of a slip and fall case is usually depositions. A deposition requires witnesses – ordinary or expert – to appear and testify while their testimony is being recorded. The witnesses will be questioned under oath. You will be permitted to question key witnesses to see what they might testify to should the case go to trial. This helps your attorney avoid surprises at trial.
If you have any questions about the process of discovery or anything else related to a slip and fall case, contact our Los Angeles slip and fall lawyers today to set up a free consultation.