Part of resolving a premises liability claim involves investigating it. This includes gaining information that the property owner (or ownership group) is likely to rely on in marshalling a defense a plaintiff’s claims. The process of obtaining such information is called discovery, and it is a critical part of litigation.
Through discovery, your attorney will obtain information such as:
- Who would be responsible for providing insurance on the day the accident occurred?
- Who was responsible for managing the premises on the day the accident occurred?
- Did they know of any specific defects or dangers on the property, and how were patrons notified of them?
- Were there specific protocols regarding cleaning or safety that were required?
Discovery is also important in establishing the basic elements for a negligence claim, including a duty to use reasonable care, breach (of such a duty), proximate cause, and damages.
Depending on the type of defendant to be sued, the discovery process could take weeks or months. The court will establish a scheduling order that will determine the amount of time the parties will be allowed to collect information through discovery. Also, the entity being sued will want information from you in order to defend itself, so your attorney will likely be served with interrogatories, requests for admissions as well as a subpoena to submit to a deposition.
Your attorney will answer these requests, and prepare you for a deposition. Depending on the nature of your accident, this may be a formality instead of a necessity.