What Is An Examination For Discovery?

By Pushor Mitchell LLP
Categories: Blog, Personal Injury

In British Columbia, each side in a law suit has the right to examine the opposing side under oath.  In its simplest form, an examination for discovery is the oral testimony of a Plaintiff or Defendant taken under oath before trial.  The basic rule is that questions asked need only address themselves to information that is relevant to the case or to the discovery of relevant facts.

The purpose of the examination for discovery is to obtain from the mind of the witness all the facts which he or she may have in his or her which will assist the lawyer in the preparation for trial of the lawsuit.

Lawyers often describe an examination for discovery as a fact finding mission because it is at examination for discovery when the opposing lawyer really has an opportunity to find out what the other party has to say about their case.

The examination for discovery is usually held at a lawyer’s boardroom or at a Court Reporter’s office.  The person being examined takes an oath to tell the truth at the examination for discovery.  The questions and answers are then made available in a written booklet known as a transcript.  The transcript of the evidence can be used at trial for purpose of cross-examination.  For example, if the witness gives evidence at the examination for discovery that is difference from the evidence he/she gives at trial, it is open for a court to find the witness unreliable.

In a personal injury claim, the evidence in the Examination for Discovery will often focus on two issues: liability and quantum of damages.  Questions on liability will explore how a crash occurred and who is responsible.  Questions dealing with a quantum of damages will deal with a person’s injuries.  More specifically, a person will be asked to describe how their injuries have affected their day to day life, including a description of their pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.  Questions are often asked about a person’s income earning capacity, both past, present and future and their ability to engage in homemaking activities. Your lawyer will assist you in preparing for your examination for discovery.

Many personal injury cases are settled after the examination for discovery stage because ICBC’s lawyer will have an understanding of the injured person’s injuries, their financial losses and their credibility.

To view a brochure for an Examination For Discovery, click here.

Allan Elliott is a lawyer and partner at Pushor Mitchell, LLP practicing in Kelowna, British Columbia.  Mr. Elliott has 30 years experience in personal injury, wrongful death and disability insurance claims. He can be reached at (250)869-1105, or by email at elliot@pushormitchell.com.