What is Discovery?
Here at Powell and Denny, we make it point to always tell our clients that while the vast majority of Alabama workers’ compensation claims settle (even if a law suit is filed), they are not entitled to a settlement. With this in mind, during the pendency of a regular workers’ compensation claim, our attorneys always act as though we are preparing for trial. Why? Because we want to be ready should a lawsuit have to be filed-and we want our clients to be ready as well.
Once a suit has been filed in an Alabama Circuit Court, the defendant has thirty (30) days from the date that service was completed in which to file their Answer, and the discovery process begins. Most of our clients have never been involved in a lawsuit, so the language of what is involved in a lawsuit is foreign to them—it is probably to you as well, so in this blog we want to briefly go through what is involved in the discovery phase of an Alabama workers compensation suit.
The phrase “discovery” is used for the process the parties go through to find out everything they can about the facts surrounding the suit which has been filed. Both sides are “discovering” what the other side knows and more about everything relevant to the claim for Alabama workers compensation benefits.
Generally, both sides file written Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents and Requests for Admissions.
Interrogatories (taken from the phrase “ to interrogate”) are written questions each side asks the other once a lawsuit has been filed and your answers are made under oath-so we always do our best to answer the questions to the best of our ability. NEVER LIE. The attorneys at Powell and Denny make objections to certain questions when needed, but otherwise we always to our best to be fully honest as a lie or attempt to mislead in an answer can be held against you by the Judge handling your case. I have told many clients that we can work with information that may be damaging to our case, but there isn’t much we can do to rectify an outright lie.
Request for Production: Once a lawsuit has been filed, this is part of the initial discovery process in which the parties request certain documents from each other. Generally, the defendant will request copies of our clients W-2s for the last few years, copies of medical records related to treatment received as a result of their job injury and reports our experts have prepared for us to use at trial.
Requests for Admissions: These are filings in which the parties as the other party to either admit or deny certain facts. Admissions are used as a way to narrowing the issues we actually need to establish.
Once the initial portion of discovery has taken place, depositions start getting scheduled. Depositions are recorded meeting between you, your lawyer and the lawyer for the defendant. The lawyer is able to ask you questions on a wide variety of topics so they can prepare their case. Your testimony is taken down by a court reporter and under oath. At Powell and Denny, we also take the deposition of a corporate representative who the defendant puts up for questioning and they go through the same process. Additionally, treating physicians and experts are often deposed in preparation for a workers’ compensation trial.
Your deposition is one of the most vital parts of your case, and at Powell and Denny we take this seriously. Our attorneys do not just tell our clients to listen to the question and answer “yes” or “no,” as most questions call for more information. We meet with our clients several times to help prepare them for their deposition, and we provide them with sample deposition questions for them to go through so they can think about what the answer is before they are sitting in front of the defense attorney hearing these questions for the first time. We understand that for the majority of our clients, sitting for their deposition will be the first time they have ever taken part in a deposition and we want them as comfortable and prepared as possible as the better prepared you are, the better you will perform during your deposition and the stronger your case will be
Once discovery has been completed, it in not uncommon for the parties to attempt to settle the case, but if this is unsuccessful, then the parties proceed towards litigation.
If you have suffered a job injury and you have questions about your rights and benefits under Alabama’s workers compensation laws -don’t hesitate to contact and speak with one of the experienced Alabama Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability attorneys at Powell and Denny today for a free consultation. Appointments are available in person, or virtually via Zoom if more convenient. Powell and Denny would appreciate the opportunity to help.
Powell and Denny: We Work When You Can’t
Offices in Birmingham, AL and Huntsville, AL
Alabama Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Birmingham Workers Compensation Lawyers
Hoover Workers Compensation Lawyers
Huntsville Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Alabama Disability Attorneys
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Hoover Social Security Disability Attorneys
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Powell and Denny have been selected as one of the Best Law Firms by U.S. News and World Report for each of the last 10 years, have been selected as one of Birmingham’s Top Lawyers by B-Metro Magazines, have been selected by The National Advocates as one of the Top 20 Workers’ Compensation Firms (plaintiffs) and Powell and Denny, P.C.-has been selected as one of the “Best of the Best” law firms by The American Registry.
Mr. Denny is AV rated by Martindale Hubbard (the highest rating possible) and Mr. Powell has been rated as Superior by The National Registry
+ Powell and Denny have successfully represented injured workers from Birmingham, Huntsville, Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Athens, Decatur, Town Creek Ardmore, Hartselle, Madison, Toney, Scottsboro, Ft. Payne, New Hope, Guntersville, Albertville, Boaz, Ashville, Anniston, Gadsden, Cullman, Jasper, Gardendale, Morris, Kimberly, Centerpoint, Leeds, Tarrant City, Fairfield, Hueytown, Bessemer, Adger, Tuscaloosa, Cordova, Alabaster, Pelham, Harpersville, Opelika, Phenix City, Montgomery, Clanton, Calera, Enterprise, Monroeville, Mobile, Evergreen, Alabaster, Pelham, Trussville and towns and cities in between.
What is Discovery?