METRO DETROIT ACCIDENT LAWYER
One of the most common questions new clients ask our office is how long will it take for their personal injury case to reach a settlement or verdict. It is certainly a reasonable question, particularly given that the client may be faced with rising medical bills and unable to work. It is true that some cases can be settled without filing a lawsuit. However, oftentimes a lawsuit is necessary in order to maximize the client’s recovery. While the matter can be settled at any time during the lawsuit, it likely will not until the parties are able to uncover all the relevant facts of the case. This process is called “discovery”.
What Is The Michigan Discovery Process?
The Michigan Court Rules allow for far-reaching and open discovery of all the facts and documents relevant to the case. The goal of discovery is to limit the number of surprises at trial. Under Michigan law, the parties are allowed discovery on “any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action.” MCR 2.302(B)(1). In fact, even evidence that will not be admissible at trial is discoverable if that evidence is likely to lead to other evidence that will be admissible.
How AND WHEN is Discovery conducted?
Discovery can begin as early as the filing of a lawsuit. The court rules allow the plaintiff to serve discovery requests along with the summons and complaint served on the defendant. Generally, however, discovery begins within a reasonable amount of time after the plaintiff files suit. Whether you were involved in a car accident, slip and fall accident, dog bite attack, or some other accident, the discovery methods are the same. They are as follows:
- Interrogatories: These are written questions relevant to the claim that must be answered under oath within a time period specified by court rule (generally twenty-eight days). While your attorney is permitted to assist, each interrogatory must be answered truthfully as the responses carry the same effect as testifying in court.
- Requests for Production of Documents: Often times, along with interrogatories, the opposing party will request that certain documents relevant to the case also be produced. This can include copies of medical records, police report/incident report, billing records, automobile repair receipts, video/photos that either party may have that is relevant to the case, etc.
- Requests for Admissions: These requests will ask that the opposing party admit certain facts, in an effort to narrow the issues that are in dispute. Subject to certain rules, the party responding can admit, deny or object to each request to admit.
- Depositions: A deposition is a meeting whereby the opposing counsel is allowed to ask questions to the opposing party or a witness. The individual deposed is required to answer those questions under oath. Normally, a transcript of each question and each answer is created by a court reporter. Your attorney is allowed to be present and object to questions that are irrelevant or exceed the scope of the examination.
- Medical Examinations: In many personal injury cases, the insurance company or opposing counsel will request that you submit to a medical examination by a healthcare professional. This professional will then create a report and offer testimony on behalf of the insurance company or defense counsel.
Contact the Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been involved in a Michigan personal injury accident, you need an experienced Michigan injury lawyer on your side to explain your rights, discuss settlement options, and if necessary file a lawsuit. Let Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers assist you in the days, week and months following your Michigan car accident, Michigan slip and fall accident, Michigan dog bite, Michigan defective product case, Michigan medical malpractice case, or other Michigan personal injury case. At our firm, you are not a number on a filing cabinet, but a person who needs help.