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Understanding the Discovery Phase of Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

By Norman Younker on March 24, 2016


Signing a legal documentThe lawyers of Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC has helped countless clients in Utah seek justice against negligent medical professionals. Our strong commitment to our clients has helped us build a reputation as one of the leading law firms in the Salt Lake City area.

Before pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit, it's helpful for client to understand what the legal process entails. We've previously discussed the initial filing of paperwork for a lawsuit. Let's give a brief overview of the next phase.

What Is the Discovery Phase?

The discovery phase of a period of investigation that is carried out by the lawyers of the plaintiff and the lawyers of the defendant. It begins once all the paperwork is filed and completed.

This pre-trial phase allows the attorneys to gather the evidence they need to build a strong case. Much of this process takes place outside of the courtroom. However, should any disputes or issues arise among the attorneys during this process, a judge can help resolve such matters.

Information That Can Be Discovered

Lawyers can obtain any information that may be relevant or pertinent to their medical malpractice case. This may include the following:

  • Any documents that are related to the medical error
  • Witness testimony
  • Background information on the witnesses
  • The identity of possible witnesses
  • Any relevant comments pertaining to the case
  • Information on the hospital or medical facility
  • Information on the medical professional

Certain information may not be obtained for a case, however. This includes the following, which may be legally protected:

  • Confidential/privileged conversations, whether written or verbal (e.g., discussions between spouses, layer/client conversations, doctor/patient conversations not germane to the case)
  • Information regarding private or personal matters (e.g., sexuality, religion, politics)
  • nformation on third parties not related to the lawsuit

Depositions

Depositions are face-to-face meetings with individual witnesses in a case. Attorneys question their witnesses under oath, recording their responses in the process. By interviewing witnesses ahead of time under oath, this helps ensure a consistent story from the witness. Any changes in testimony can be brought up in court.

Requests for the Production of Evidence

This refers to formal requests to produce evidence that may be related to a case, such as files and documents of any sort (e.g., contracts, bills, records). This may also refer to a formal request to examine any physical evidence that is related to the case.

Interrogatories

When the parties in a case wish to discuss matters, they may exchange questions and responses known as interrogatories. These are also admissible in trial.

Requests for Admission

Requests for admission are requests that one party in a lawsuit verify the authenticity of evidence or facts to be discussed in a case. These admissions are performed under oath.

Contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC

For more information about your legal options following a serious medical mistake, be sure to contact our team of medical malpractice attorneys today. The team at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC will work with you and help you through every stage of the legal process.

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