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What is Discovery and Why is it Important to a Maryland Personal Injury Case?

Posted on: July 16, 2014

Lawyers often use legal terms or jargon to describe various aspects of litigation. For many with no legal education, these legal terms can be confusing and intimidating. Most clients are interested primarily with the outcome of the case, and are less interested in learning about the legal process. However, favorable case outcomes are almost always dependent on procedural factors such as properly filing a lawsuit, negotiation with the other side, settlement offers, and – if necessary – taking a case to trial.

Understanding how a lawsuit works is important. If you have been injured and are weighing the pros and cons of hiring a Maryland personal injury attorney, it is crucial to understand that bringing a successful personal injury lawsuit requires a significant amount of legal training and experience.

What is Discovery?

Discovery is the process during which an attorney gathers evidence from the other party to the lawsuit. For instance, in a personal injury lawsuit, discovery is an opportunity for the injured person, the plaintiff, to get information from the person who injured them, the defendant.

Information that is discoverable must be relevant to the lawsuit, but can include:

  • Facts about the opposing party such as their address or employment history;
  • The identity of any witnesses;
  • Actions taken or statements made by a witness or party;
  • Photographic evidence;
  • Social media evidence;
  • Injuries or money damages that a party has suffered;
  • Business documents; or
  • Relevant emails or other correspondence.

How Does Discovery Work?

Discovery is a two-way street. Each party to a lawsuit must provide the other side with relevant information and evidence. Discovery can take place through several different mechanisms such as interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admission, and depositions.

Interrogatories – Interrogatories are questions that are sent from one party to the other. The questions must be answered in writing under oath. The Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure limit the number of interrogatories a party may ask to 30.

Requests for Production – A request for production allows a party to seek documents that are relevant to a lawsuit. For example, a request for production can allow a party to obtain copies of medical bills, tax forms, wage documentation, and photographs.

Requests for Admission – Requests for admission allow a party to request that the other side admit or deny facts relevant to the lawsuit. If a request for admission is not answered in a timely manner, the court may consider the fact admitted. This can be an effective way to limit the number of issues on which the parties must present evidence at trial.

Depositions – Depositions are a chance for parties to a lawsuit to ask the other party or any witnesses questions under oath. The questions can cover a broad range of information, and information from a deposition can be used to impeach a witness who offers a contradictory answer during trial.

Why is Discovery Important?

Discovery can make or break a lawsuit. For example, a 2012 case in the Court of Special Appeals was dismissed because the lawyer was several days late in responding to discovery requests. More often though, discovery can help the parties to a lawsuit reach a settlement. When the attorneys involved in a lawsuit have a complete picture of all the evidence that could be presented at trial, they are better able to estimate the verdict that a judge or jury would reach. By settling before the case goes to trial, both parties are able to avoid unnecessary expenses and delay.

Justin Katz is a personal injury lawyer who represents injury victims in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC
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Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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Location: Tysons

Chris Shin
Chris Shin
18:23 20 Jun 18
They were very polite, professional. and informed current status of the case time to time. Great Job !!!
Jonathan Roane
Jonathan Roane
22:51 17 Nov 17
If you ever need any assistance with an accident or injury-related claim this is the firm you need hands down. These are the most professional and caring people I have ever met in my life. Two people you should contact are Rebecca Slattery who was actually my paralegal and also Allan Serrano. You will be in good hands.
Israel Thompson
Israel Thompson
00:52 06 Dec 17
Attorney MR Bob Katz outstanding Human being, went beyond and above to help me during my accident, he showed me tremendous kindness and support.Thank you so much will highly recommend him to anyone who needs help with their auto accident
Marta Kritselis
Marta Kritselis
16:19 01 Sep 17
Rebecca Slattery the paralegal She took care my case and she was very helpful throughout the whole process. I highly recommend to my family and friend the services of Attorney Bob Kats and there team .
Myong Kim
Myong Kim
22:04 31 Mar 17
I am grateful to Bob and Justin Katz and their team for working hard to get me the most money. They were very professional and easy to work with in Korean. I will recommend them to friends and family any chance I have.
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