For many of our clients, their
medical malpractice case represents their first encounter with the California legal system. Therefore,
we think it is important to explain how the process works and what clients
can expect along the way.
The process of “discovery” is an important part of almost all
civil cases. After a lawsuit is filed, the parties are obligated to exchange
certain information and evidence through an investigation process known
as discovery. The process is largely conducted outside the courtroom.
During discovery, we will seek information and evidence from the defendant
as well as witnesses and others who might have information relevant to
your case. The parties are also required to share information regarding
their medical experts.
Discovery can take many forms, including written interrogatories, requests
for production of documents, deposition, either oral or through written
statements, request for examination, request for inspection of evidence,
requests for admission, and independent medical examinations. The four
most common types of discovery are detailed below:
Depositions. A deposition involves face-to-face questioning under oath. The parties
and witnesses may be deposed. The deposition is attended by a court reporter,
who will officially record the answers. If the deponent cannot testify
at trial, the deposition testimony can be read to the jury instead. In
addition, if the witness’s testimony at trial differs from the testimony
during the deposition, the record can be used to show the jury that the
witness changed his story.
Requests for production of evidence. When making a request for production of evidence, one party asks the other
for physical evidence related to the lawsuit. In most medical malpractice
cases, the evidence requested is in the form of documents, such as medical
records, medical bills, correspondence, etc.
Interrogatories. Interrogatories are written questions one party sends to the other to
be answered under oath. Like deposition testimony, answers can also be
used at trial to reveal inconsistencies in the witness’s account
of what happened.
Requests for admission. A request for admission asks the other party to admit, under oath, that
certain facts are true or certain documents are authentic. This type of
discovery allows both sides to narrow down the issues that are in dispute.
While discovery may seem like a daunting process, as lawyers, it is something
we do every day. We will walk you through the process and make sure your
rights are protected every step of the way.
If you or someone you love has suffered from medical negligence, don’t
hesitate to contact
a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a