Personal Injury Litigation and the Request for Production of Documents
There is a sample Request for Production of Documents in Appendix A of my book. (see form 5, p.236.) The exchange of documents is very useful, since each affects the settlement value of the case.
Depending on the nature of your case, other documents may be relevant and exchanged at this time. The documents that are exchanged during this stage of the proceedings include:
- the police report;
- ambulance report;
- all medical records;
- witness statements;
- property damage appraisals;
- photographs of the cars;
- photographs of the scene;
- diagrams of the accident scene; and,
- insurance policies.
The rules of civil procedure require a response to these requests for information within a short period of time, typically thirty days, although this varies from state to state. If the responses are late or inadequate, the attorney who submitted the requests can file a motion with the court requesting that the court order the other side to provide the documents. There is a sample Motion to Compel Discovery in Appendix A. (see form 6, p.238.) There is also a sample of the order the judge would sign. (see form 7, p.239.)
Once this stage of discovery is completed, it is time to begin preparing for stage two of the discovery process-depositions. It is here that the lawyers get the clearest idea yet of the strengths and weaknesses of their case and of their opponent’s case.