Managing the Discovery Process to Get the Most from Your Louisiana Injury Case

In your personal injury case, the road to success involves many, many steps. Some of them definitely involve the facts of your case, such as the nature of the accident and the nature of your injuries. Others, though, involve things that are more procedural or tactical in nature, including the process of discovery in your case. This is one of many areas in which a Louisiana slip-and-fall attorney is extremely beneficial to you. Whether you are making discovery requests or responding to them, your knowledgeable counsel can make sure that you are complying with the rules and avoiding pitfalls along the way. In one recent slip-and-fall case from Alexandria, the management of the discovery process was integral to the injured man’s success.

The plaintiff was a man walking through an Alexandria, La. hospital in 2006. As he walked across a sloped ramp that was part of a skybridge, he slipped and fell. The man was hurt in the fall, and he eventually sued for damages. Initially, the hospital admitted, within its response to a “Request for Admissions” made by the plaintiff, that the plaintiff fell in water, that the wet spot was a result of mopping performed by the hospital’s custodian, and that the custodian removed warning signs from the area when he finished mopping, which was mere minutes before the plaintiff encountered the area and fell.

The lawsuit advanced slowly. The hospital’s admission about the wet spot was made in 2012. Three years after that, and nine years after the accident, the hospital asked the court to allow it to change its responses to the plaintiff’s first request for admissions. The trial court rejected the hospital’s request to change its answers. Armed with these unaltered responses to the request for admissions, the plaintiff asked the court to issue a partial summary judgment in his favor. The trial court agreed and entered the order in favor of the injured man.

The hospital appealed those rulings – regarding both the request for admissions responses and the summary judgment – but it lost, and the judgment in favor of the injured man was upheld. It is worth noting that, if you serve a request for admissions on your opponent as part of the discovery process in your personal injury case, and even if you get helpful admissions in the responses to that document, this may not be the end.

The law does give the party responding to a request for admissions the opportunity to ask the court for permission to change those answers. Generally, though, the party seeking to make a change (or changes) must prove two things to the court in order to make any changes at all:  that allowing the changes will aid the process of adjudicating the case on its merits, and allowing the changes would not unfairly harm the opposing party in the case.

The reason the hospital did not succeed in this case was that it lacked adequate proof of either of those required elements. The hospital indicated that it wanted to make the changes after it received a report from one of its expert witnesses. That expert, however, didn’t inspect the site of the injury until almost a full decade after the incident took place. Given the prolonged passage of time leading up to the hospital’s request, the appeals court reasoned that the plaintiff would clearly be prejudiced by allowing the hospital to make the changes that it desired to make.

To make sure that your slip-and-fall case gets the skillful and knowledgeable handling that your case deserves, contact the diligent Louisiana premises liability attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. Our team has worked for many years to protect the rights and interests of the injured.

For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.

More Blog Posts:

Court of Appeal Gives Louisiana Man Renewed Opportunity to Pursue Slip-and-Fall Case, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, June 21, 2017

Store’s Usage of ‘Wet Floor’ Sign Not Enough to Trigger Liability in Louisiana Woman’s Slip-and-Fall Case, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, April 22, 2016

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