Georgia Discovery Process
Unfortunately, you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, which caused you injury and forced you to miss time from work. The injury has taken a toll on both your personal and professional life. You went to a lawyer who listened to your story and filed a complaint. Shortly thereafter, you received an answer from the other side.
At this point, you would like to gain more information about the accident. You would like to question the other side to help strengthen your case. You would also like to discuss certain things with eyewitnesses. In other words, you want to gather as much pertinent information as possible so that you can present your case. In addition, you would like information about the other party so that you can prepare for possible questions that the other side may ask you.
Title Nine of the Georgia code provides for such a mechanism, which is called discovery. Discovery is generally allowed during the six months after a defendant files an answer. This time period can be lengthened by motioning the court for an extension.
The main ways to obtain information during the discovery phase of a lawsuit are interrogatories, depositions, document production, and requests for admissions.
Interrogatories are formal questions that one side will ask the other. These questions must be answered. The Georgia code allows one party to compel the other party through an interrogatory, to divulge who will be called as a witness. Interrogatories will also seek information concerning other basic facts of the case such as insurance coverage and most anything relevant to the case.
Depositions are an oral examination of the other party or a witness outside of court. The party’s attorney will conduct a deposition and the person being deposed will be sworn in under oath. The deposition will usually be recorded. Georgia law generally caps the length of a deposition at seven hours, though the party conducting the deposition can request for an extension from the court.
One party can request that the other party produce all documents that may lead to the discovery of relevant evidence. This must be a written request and the other party generally has thirty days to respond. A request for document production can also be served on a third party, provided the requesting party reasonably believes that the third party has relevant information.
Request for admissions
One party can send formal questions asking the other party to either admit or deny certain allegations. Request for admissions are generally used to narrow the issues for trial so the parties do not waste judicial resources litigating things that are not disputed.
It is important to note that the other party may not cooperate with the discovery process. When this occurs, your lawyer should consider filing a motion to compel. Under the Uniform of Superior Court Rules of the State of Georgia, a party claiming that the other party is not cooperating with the discovery process may file a motion in court asking to compel the other party to comply with the request. The court may issue a Protective Order in favor of the moving party to compel discovery compliance. However, before any motion is filed, the parties must confer in a good faith effort to resolve any dispute prior to asking for court intervention.
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a car accident, contact the personal injury law firm of Joel Williams, a Cobb County, Georgia, lawyer who fights for injury victims. If you have questions or would like to discuss your case, please call our office today at 833 – LEGALGA for a free consultation.