What is Discovery?

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Matt Kahn is here to talk about what the Discovery period is!

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► Hey, my name is Matt Kahn. I’m an attorney with Butler Kahn. Today, I want to talk about the discovery period and what that means, and why it takes so long. So, whenever a civil lawsuit is filed, you’re going to have a six month discovery period, and that’s basically the time where the parties use the various tools at their disposal to learn what the evidence will be in the case, and then use that evidence at a trial.
► And so, today we’re going to talk about some of the tools that are available to attorneys during the discovery period. So, generally we have six types of tools that we can use. We’ve got interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admissions, depositions, requests for inspections, and medical exams.
► So an interrogatory is a written discovery request. It’s basically where each party has the opportunity to ask written questions to the other party, and then that party has to respond under oath and that becomes evidence in the case. Request for production is exactly what it sounds like, it’s where the parties have the opportunity to ask the other party to produce documents. In a car wreck case, this might be medical records or police report. In the negligent security case, it’ll be records, policies and procedures, prior complaints showing that the incident was foreseeable. You also have request for admissions, which gives the party the opportunity to just get admissions. You can use this to authenticate documents by saying, “Admit that this is a true and accurate document,” or you can use it to get admissions as to material facts of the case.
► And deposition is not a written form of discovery. It’s where a party or a witness is actually in person or by Zoom and asks… Well, the attorneys ask questions and the witness has to answer those under oath, and then that testimony becomes evidence in the case. Request for inspection is sort of an underutilized discovery tool. It allows the parties to request access to a piece of evidence or to visit a scene where an incident occurred. So you may have a case where you want to inspect the cell phone, and this tool allows you to do a forensic inspection at the cell phone to see what sort of data, what was being used at the time of the say car accident.
► You could also use that this tool to inspect a site. If you have a premises’ liability case, this tool will allow you to go out and see actually where the injury occurred. Now, a medical exam, sometimes called an IME for an Independent Medical Exam is most often used by the defense, and basically that allows the defense to request an independent medical examination of the plaintiff to verify that the injuries are what the plaintiff says they are in any given case.
► Now, as you might imagine, with all these different types of tools, it can take a lot of time to complete the discovery period. Typically, we have six months to do it, but many times you’ll see one or two, sometimes even three or four extensions of the discovery period, which is why a case can take so long. Now, if you have been injured or someone that you love has been injured, it’s important to hire a lawyer and a law firm who is familiar with all of these tools and uses them to advance your case and build the best case that you have. If you or someone you know has been injured and you’d like to talk about the case, give us a call. Our number is 678-400-6166. Thank you.

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