Discovery is the process in which both sides seek to amplify the facts in the cases from the bare bones of a complaint and answer to more specifics. Discovery is started by the defendant who along with the answer, serves upon counsel for the plaintiff the following documents: Demand for a Verified Bill of Particulars; Demands for Discovery & Inspection; Demand for authorizations for medical records; Notice to take the deposition of the plaintiff, etc.
Here is where the work on the case really gets underway, and requires cooperation between the plaintiff and his attorney. The Verified Bill of Particulars is a series of written questions which must be answered and sworn to by the plaintiff. Our practice is to take an exhaustive fact summary on intake of the case so that we are prepared with the answers to many of the standard questions that are called for in a Bill of Particulars. However, each case is unique and each requires us to have detailed conversations with our clients in preparing to draft appropriate responses to the questions. Once the responses are drafted an appointment is set up for the client to come in to review the Bill of Particulars and to verify or swear to its truthfulness. The remaining documents are prepared by us without the necessity of the plaintiff signing them.
When we have completed the documents we serve them on the counsel for the defendant. Along with our responses to these documents we serve our demand for discovery on the other side. The forms are similar but not the contents. The plaintiff must be prepared to discuss all aspects of the case both on the issue of LIABILITY and DAMAGES. Of necessity, therefore, their documents to the plaintiff must cover both areas. On the other hand our documents to the defendant bear only on LIABILITY as that is the only issue we have to pin the defendant down with. It is at this point that the time line in your case seems to come to a grinding stop. It takes an inordinate amount of time for each side to gather together the documents sought in discovery many from entities not directly involved in the case. For example, once the defendant receives HIPAA compliant medical release authorizations they must secure medical records from hospitals and doctors who take their time in responding. A word about medical history. When a plaintiff starts a lawsuit for personal injuries, he puts his entire medical history into issue. Therefore, defendant will request all relevant medical records . These will include not only the obvious ones pertaining to the fracture suffered, but broader ones concerning your overall medical history. All of the discovery to this point is building to the DEPOSITION. The deposition will generally not be held without first getting the court involved.
Additional steps of filing a New York civil lawsuit.
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