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Discovery rules for personal injury cases

16th February 2011
By Jonathan Blocker in Personal Injury
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Many parties often wonder why courts usually set the hearing months, sometimes even years, after a lawsuit has been filed. The primary reason behind this is because the judge is obliged to give both parties sufficient time to gather all relevant documents. This process is called the discovery stage. Depending on the complexity of a personal injury case, discovery could take months even years to be completed.

The so-called “interrogatories” is the first phase in the discovery process. This phase includes the exchange of information and documents between the parties. It commences with the request letters of both parties which contain a list of all the documents they need for the preparation of the claim. Typically, these letters include specific questions and the other party is expected to answer them as thoroughly as possible. Ordinarily, if the incident happened in Denver, an accident lawyer in Denver should prepare or at least review the request letter. Unfortunately, in many cases, the defendants merely give vague answers to the questions. Thus, in the majority of cases where the claim is brought to court, it is imperative to consult an injury lawyer in Denver. Relevant documents can include witness statements, police reports, ambulance reports, property damage appraisals, photographs of the scene and the injuries, insurance policies and all other medical records.

Response Time

After the injury lawyer in Denver sends out the request for documents, the other party has usually 30 days to respond. Other statutory laws have different timelines. If the accident lawyer in Denver considers the response to be insufficient, he can file a motion with the court asking the court to issue an order compelling the other party to send the requested documents, also known as “Motion to Compel Discovery.”


According to a Denver injury law firm, the deposition phase is the most important stage in a personal injury lawsuit. This is where the representatives of both parties may ask direct questions to the other party and obtain a written statement. Every injury lawyer in Denver would agree that telling the truth is always the best strategy in this phase. Exaggeration should be avoided. As long as the victim can provide sufficient supporting evidence, speaking about the truth is enough to win the sympathy of the judges and the jury members. Guessing during a deposition should be avoided as well. The injured should stick to the facts and admit that he doesn’t know the answer to certain questions. In the past, there were some victims who lost their credibility because they were guessing during the deposition. Sometimes, answering with “I do not remember” is acceptable, particularly when the deposition was conducted months or even years after the incident. However, an experienced Denver injury law firm would be able to prepare the client for the deposition in order to avoid giving a vague answer during the interview.

It is also important for clients to know when to stop speaking during a deposition. Typically, the representative of the other party would take advantage of someone who is revealing too much information. Answering with yes or no, whenever possible, is always the best way to respond. By keeping the answers brief, the other party has less opportunity to find something that it could use against the victim.

Further, it is important to understand each question before giving an answer. An answer that was not well thought out might give out information that the victim did not intend to reveal.

Lastly, the victim should try to speak as clearly as possible. The mere nodding of the head or an “uh-uh” expression could be perceived negatively by the judge or jury members.

Consulting a Denver Injury Law Firm

In any event, someone who hasn’t had any exposure to the legal procedures should seek the advice of an experienced accident lawyer in Denver. This gives the victim better chances of winning the lawsuit.

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