The discovery process is the method used by attorneys to gather information to effectively litigate their case. In Arizona, there is a prompt initial disclosure requirement that mandates all parties involved in litigation to disclose all relevant information pertaining to their case within 40 days of service of the answer. In addition, any new information obtained by either party is required to be “seasonably disclosed” to all other parties.
Furthermore, parties are permitted to serve discovery requests upon any party involved in the action. There are several different forms of discovery that a party may employ, but the three main types are written discovery, depositions, and medical examinations.
Written discovery are requests that require a party to either respond in writing, such as interrogatories and requests for admission, or produce documents, such as a request for production of documents or Subpoena Duces Tecum. Although written discovery is the cheapest method of discovery, it is generally limited to the parties involved in the litigation, except for a Subpoena Duces Tecum.
Parties are also permitted to take the deposition of another person. Unlike written discovery, a deposition can be taken of any person that may have information relevant to the litigation. A deposition is where attorneys have the right to ask questions of the person who is the subject of the deposition. This is done before a court reporter who records all of the questions, answers, and any objections made by the attorneys. However, there are significant costs involved when taking multiple depositions. These expenses include the cost of the court reporter and, at times, travel costs.
Since a deposition is a formal proceeding in which an attorney takes the sworn testimony of a person, it can be used in court instead of requiring the individual to testify. As a result, depositions are often used as a tool in order to try to discover the expected testimony of a witness at trial. If an individual changes their testimony at trial, an attorney may attack their credibility with the prior deposition.
Oftentimes, in personal injury cases, one of the disputes is the extent of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff, and whether the treatment received was medically necessary. Consequently, courts permit opposing parties to conduct an independent medical examination, or IME, of the plaintiff. When an IME is requested, the plaintiff is required to allow a doctor, selected by the opposing party, to evaluate his or her medical records and to conduct a physical examination.
We represent clients throughout the state of Arizona and are ready to assist you through this difficult time. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, please call the Law Offices of Michael Cordova at 602-265-6700. Our Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyers offer a free, personal, and confidential consultation to answer any questions and to explain your rights.