What is an examination for discovery?
An examination for discovery is an oral examination taken under oath. It is conducted by the lawyer who asks questions of the opposing party, with both lawyers present (ie. you will not have to face the ICBC lawyer alone). The procedure is done before a court reporter so there is a record of the proceeding. It is a pre-trial procedure which allows parties to get a better understanding of the other side’s case. This helps the parties define or narrow the issues in dispute, helps promote settlement through a better understanding of the case, and also helps the parties be prepared for trial, having obtained important evidence through the discovery.
In an ICBC injury claim, the lawyer for the defendant will typically ask the plaintiff questions about:
- his/her background (age, marital status, work and education history, prior medical issues);
- how the accident happened (in great detail if liability is in issue);
- the injuries suffered in the accident, including how the injuries have progressed over time;
- medical practitioners who have assessed and treated the plaintiff;
- how the injuries have impacted the plaintiff’s life (social, recreational, household activities);
- how the injuries have effected or altered the plaintiff’s educational or employment pursuits, and
- any expenditures incurred by the plaintiff due to the accident.
Do you need a lawyer for an examination for discovery?
Everything you say in an examination for discovery can be admitted as evidence in court. Furthermore, ICBC has control of what goes in and what does not. If you are going to attend an examination for discovery, it is imperative that you meet with your lawyer in advance and be well-prepared. It is an important part of the litigation process and can have an impact on the outcome of your claim.