Search Site
Menu
Discovery: What To Expect During The “Production Of Documents” Phase

You were injured in an accident that you believe was caused by someone else, which is often true in car accidents and slip or trip and falls. The other person may have been speeding, missed a road sign, or was driving recklessly. Alternatively, you may have fallen on someone’s commercial or private property due to poor lighting, a slippery surface, or an unmaintained sidewalk. Whatever the case, you feel that the other party is liable for your damages.

Because of this, you chose to file a personal injury claim, but were unfortunately unable to reach a settlement. At that point you filed a lawsuit, which the defendant responded to. Now, the discovery process–the pretrial phase dedicated to gathering evidence and developing court strategies–is underway.

The discovery process is complex because it consists of several phases (or tools) used to gather relevant information. Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents (RFP) are the first two litigation tools that a plaintiff has to gather information from the defendant. Requests for production of documents are a written tool, like interrogatories, used in a majority of personal injury lawsuits.

What are Requests for the Production of Documents?

Requests for production of documents go hand-in-hand with interrogatories because they’re both used in the initial written discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit. There is some overlap between the two, as documents requested during this phase of discovery are often used to back up information that was gathered in interrogatories. For example, a plaintiff may use interrogatories to request the carrier name and policy limit for any liability policy of insurance that provided coverage to the defendant at the time of the incident. The plaintiff will then use the requests for production of documents to request copies of all policies of insurance that were identified in that interrogatory answer. Both parties have the ability to serve requests for production of documents to the other party.

Pursuant to Virginia Supreme Court Rule 4:9, a party has 21 days to respond to interrogatories and RFPs. If the plaintiff serves interrogatories and RFPs with the complaint, the defendant has 28 days to respond.

Objecting to Requests for the Production of Documents

In certain circumstances, you can object to having to produce a document requested by the defendant, such as if:

  • The requested information is protected by lawyer-client privilege
  • The documents are unduly burdensome to produce, such as if they were destroyed, lost, or go back several years.
  • The request is overly broad.
  • The requested information would not lead to the discovery of relevant admissible evidence.

Objections need to state whether any materials within your response are being withheld because of the basis of that objection. It is common for attorneys to go back and forth about what is and is not discoverable, both in requests for production of documents and other parts of the discovery phase.

If the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant are not able to resolve the dispute concerning whether the requested documents are properly discoverable, the attorney for the party requesting the documents will file a motion to compel the production with the trial court, to which the opposing attorney responds in writing. The matter is set for a hearing before a trial judge, who conducts a hearing where the lawyers for both parties argue their respective position. The judge then rules which documents or categories of documents are discoverable and which are not.

Conclusion

Requests for the production of documents are a written tool used in the initial written discovery phase of most personal injury lawsuits. Frequently, the documents requested contain information that supplements what was discovered during interrogatories. Having tangible proof of this information helps your attorney prepare effective court strategies, oftentimes, with the documents produced by a defendant being used as an exhibit at trial to help prove your case.

In our next blog, we talk about another written discovery tool: requests for admissions.

Thomas J. Curcio Attorney Photo
Thomas J. Curcio
Founder

Tom Curcio, the driving force behind Curcio Law, is a dedicated trial lawyer with more than 37 years of experience in Northern Virginia. He has dedicated his career to representing people who have been seriously injured through no fault of their own. He works tirelessly to obtain the compensation his clients are legally entitled to…

Rakin Hamad Attorney Photo
Rakin Hamad
Associate

Rakin Hamad is a graduate of the George Mason Law School and joined Curcio Law as an associate in August 2018. Rakin works closely with Tom Curcio and staff in preparing cases from the initial client meeting through trial and has been a perfect fit for the firm. During law school, Rakin interned at the…

Justin Curcio Attorney Photo
Justin Curcio
Associate

Justin Curcio received his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 2015, where he was awarded an academic scholarship. During law school, he worked for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the law firm of Bartlett, McDonough & Monaghan, LLP. Justin also spent a semester studying law at the University of Glasgow…

Kathy  McAfee Attorney Photo
Kathy McAfee
Office Manager

As the firm’s office manager, Kathy McAfee is dedicated to making sure the office runs smoothly and that the team has what it needs by way of resources, technology, and supplies to best serve our clients. Kathy graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Roanoke College in 1986 and afterward, returned to Alexandria. She began…

Riann  Winget Attorney Photo
Riann Winget
Legal Assistant/Receptionist

Riann Winget, a native Texan, graduated with a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Legal Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. She was a member of the varsity soccer team, Chi Omega Sorority, and was on the university board for Big Brothers Big Sisters. After graduation, she joined AmeriCorps and taught preschool…

Client Reviews
  • google
    5.0/5.0

    THE CURCIO LAW FIRM WAS A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH,THEY TURNED MY NIGHTMARE OF A REAR END COLISION TO A VERY PLEASANT EXPERIANCE, I AM SO GLAD I WAS REFERERED TO THEM BY MY ATTORNEY, THEY HANDLED MY CASE WITH EXPERIENCE AND DEDICATION TO ACHIEVING A S...

    Read more

    Mike Burley

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I contacted Curcio Law for advice and Justin Curcio was extremely helpful. He responded to my inquiry very quickly and explained in great detail how the process works for filing a claim. He was very friendly, caring and knowledgable of Virginia La...

    Read more

    Teresa

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    The Curcio Law firm was recommended to me to handle my personal injury case. They kept me informed on the progress of my case regularly without my calling them. I was very impressed with their professional knowledge and handling of my case. I was ve...

    Read more

    Ronald Silas

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    The level of care and professionalism this firm has shown me is out of this world. They know how to take care of the client and provide excellent consultation. I’m very happy with the service that Rakin has provided me. He is very responsive, profe...

    Read more

    Tarik El-Allame

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Very helpful! Walked me through he process of the case and what i can expect and what I should have ready. Would highly recommend giving them a call for a consultation.

    Read more

    Ismoil Rakhmatullaev

See all reviews
Awards & Memberships
Settlements & Verdicts
  • "$213,000.00 Jury Verdict, Auto Accident, Hand injury"

  • "$1,500,000.00, Auto Accident, Wrongful Death"

  • "$100,000.00, Auto Accident, Broken Leg"

  • "$493,000.00, Auto Accident, Brain injury, broken rib, facial lacerations"

  • "$190,000.00, Auto Accident, Brain injury"

Contact us

Quick Contact Form