Under Georgia law, once a defendant files an answer to the complaint a six month discovery period begins. The Answer is a paragraph by paragraph response to the allegations contained within the Plaintiff’s complaint. It also provides an opportunity for the defense to assert any affirmative defenses he/she may have to the complaint.
METHODS OF DISCOVERY IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE
Discovery covers a variety of methods of obtaining information about the case. Interrogatories are a series of written questions that the other side (or witnesses) must answer under oath. Georgia limits the number of interrogatories that may be asked of any witness to 50. Requests for Production of Documents are written requests sent to other parties that require the person or entity to provide whatever documents are requested that are relevant to the case and not privileged. Requests for Admissions consist of a series of questions posed to the opposing party that require them to either admit or deny certain facts and allegations about the case. Depositions are in person interviews conducted under oath in the presence of a court reporter. Depositions can be taken of parties, witnesses and experts in any case.
Unfortunately, discovery can be very complex and contentious in cases. Sometimes defense lawyers seem to view the discovery process as a method to wear down the other side rather than to use it to obtain relevant and useful information. Additionally, there are times when one side has information that they simply don’t want the other side to have and will fight tooth and nail to keep from having to turn over the information. The failure to turn over valuable information, when it can be proved, can result in severe sanctions by the judge including the striking of certain pleadings or defenses in a case.
Often the discovery period is extended by agreement of both sides in a case to allow additional time to obtain necessary information for the case. Most judges agree to such extensions without issue as long as it doesn’t delay the case too long.
If you have been injured by another person or entity, please give me a call at 404-474-2531 for a free and confidential consultation.