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Gathering Evidence in a New Jersey Personal Injury Case

The Tools Your Lawyer Will Use to Put Together Your Lawsuit

Gathering Evidence in a New Jersey Personal Injury CaseWhen you have been hurt because of someone else’s carelessness or wrongful act, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses in a court of law. To successfully recover damages, you must prove your claims before a judge and jury. How does your attorney find the best evidence to convince jurors of the merits of your case?

The Tools of Discovery

In legal language, the process of gathering evidence is known as “discovery.” In the American civil justice system, the principle of “open discovery” applies at all times. That means that both parties have a right to all evidence relevant to the case (whether it’s admissible in court or not).

A common way that most attorneys will gather evidence is through the use of a private detective. The private detective will typically interview witnesses, and other parties, if possible. It’s important to understand, though, that a person cannot be compelled to speak to or answer questions from a private investigator.

Another tool for gathering evidence is the use of an expert witness. Your attorney may bring an accident reconstruction specialist to the scene of a motor vehicle accident, or may have a safety expert look at a dangerous or defective product.

Perhaps the most common method of gathering evidence is through a deposition. With a deposition, your attorney can ask the court to subpoena a witness (or another party) for questioning. Because of the legal force of a subpoena, the witness must appear. A court reporter will typically be present at the deposition, so that all questions and answers will be documented. The deposition may also be videotaped.

At the deposition, attorneys for all parties to the lawsuit may ask questions. Because there is no judge and no jury present, the rules of evidence that apply in the courtroom do not prohibit a witness from answering a question that would be objectionable in court. If there are disputes about the admissibility of certain questions and answers, they will be resolved by the court before the trial starts.

A second form of discovery frequently used is a request for production. This may involve documents or other types of physical evidence. This allows opposing counsel to examine relevant physical evidence in preparation for trial.

Finally, attorneys for either side may submit written questions to a party, a process known as “interrogatories.” The court will typically set limitations on the number of interrogatories, so that the process cannot be used solely or primarily as a delaying tactic or to cause the opposing party to incur unnecessary expense.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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