Discovery Process for the Raleigh Construction Accident Case
Being involved in a construction accident is not easy and often leads to a complex litigation process. The discovery process takes place in the first stages of a case and presents the involved parties with an opportunity to give any relevant information that could be helpful later during trial. If you are uncertain about how your claim for compensation might unfold, call a qualified attorney to learn more about the discovery process for a Raleigh construction accident case.
Producing Documents for a Raleigh Construction Accident Case
The client’s lawyers filed a request for production of documents on their behalf, which allowed them to obtain document information from the various parties, including safety materials, safety training, and any protocols that would have been in place at the time of the incident. In any type of discovery situation, there is usually a free exchange of information. Just as the plaintiff was entitled to information from the defendants, they were entitled to information from the plaintiff, so they produced documents to the defendant.
The opposing parties asked the claimant for medical records from the incident, wage-earning records or records of employment, disability claims, prior arrest history, criminal records, and any other documents that they thought were relevant to their defenses. During the discovery phase, the evidence that was exchanged involved written answers and productions of documents in addition to depositions in which the parties would be put under oath and required to answer questions from the opposing legal counsel.
Interrogatories are written questions prepared by lawyers during discovery that are served to either party and must be answered within a certain period of time. This process usually involves deliberation with a legal representative to review the questions and answers as well as prepare them to be sent back to the party that requested them. Any party in litigation is required to answer interrogatories or any other discovery served upon them usually within 30 days of receiving them. In some instances, the parties could request additional time to answer the questions.
The client’s attorneys asked 60 interrogatories in addition to requests for production of documents and a request for admissions, and the client received 60 interrogatories from the opposing counsel. The defendants asked the plaintiff to state their work history, criminal record, and any arrest charges or convictions, any theory upon which they based entitlement to damages, any witnesses that they talked to, and specifically any expert witnesses that they intended to call to help prove their case.
If there are certain issues that the opposing party is willing to agree to, a lawyer could clear those up through requests for admissions, the purpose of which is to curtail issues or narrow issues down. For example, an attorney can establish their client’s place of residency by asking the defendants to confirm it, which helps avoid jurisdictional issues that may come up later.
In this case, the client’s representatives asked opposing parties to admit to the various roles that they had in the construction process. If they admitted to those, the claimant’s attorneys would not have to prove who each party was in the structure of the project. Admissions are useful for finding out the items that could be agreed on so that they do not have to be part of the proving process later.
Admissions were also filed against the plaintiff, but much of what they asked for was denied because these various questions were designed to limit the plaintiff’s ability to prove their case. For example, the client was asked whether they believed that they contributed at all to the incident and whether they were in safety equipment at the time.
Raleigh Construction Accident Case Depositions
Depositions are an opportunity for opposing lawyers to place various witnesses or parties to a lawsuit under oath for several hours to answer questions that may lead to potentially-relevant information. Many situations involve hearing objections to questions that are not relevant, but there are no such objections in a deposition. Attorneys are given a lot of free reign in depositions and ask many questions that they reasonably believe could lead to some type of relevant information. Depositions are usually long, arduous processes, so it would be beneficial to retain an experienced lawyer for help.
The claimant’s case involved over ten depositions, for which they and their legal counsel prepared for two days. Their attorneys interviewed them and played the role of the defense attorney trying to find out exactly how they would react to various lines of questions.
The deponents were various people who represented the construction company, including their safety manager, superintendent, and owner. The goal and desired outcome in deposing the opposing parties was to have them admit that, under the safety standards that are universally accepted in construction projects, they failed and breached those standards in a way that led to the plaintiff being hurt. The depositions that took place in the discovery phase influenced the plaintiff’s case because many things were determined during the discovery phase that was helpful, such as the defendant admitting that they were not following safety protocols and admitting to causing severe injuries.