If you’ve ever been involved in a personal injury case, you likely understand what the discovery process is. However, many specific parts of the discovery process are difficult to understand, so people often feel like they’re left in the dark during discovery. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we believe in transparency and ensuring that our clients understand every part of the legal process. If you’ve heard the term “request for admissions,” but have no clue what it means, this article is for you. To schedule a free consultation with our Phoenix personal injury lawyers, please contact our law firm at 602-910-4040 today.
The Discovery Process
In order to prepare for a trial, both sides must take part in a process called discovery. Discovery is the formal exchange of information between both parties about their witnesses and evidence. This process is extremely important, as it allows both sides to adequately prepare for trial rather than being caught by surprise with no evidence to use as a response.
While there are a few different ways to conduct discovery, the most popular method is taking depositions. Depositions are statements given out of court and under oath by any person who is involved in the case at hand. They can be used both during the trial and in preparation for the trial. Additionally, depositions allow both sides to obtain testimony from any witnesses who cannot appear at the actual trial.
Other popular methods of discovery include the following.
- Interrogatories: These are written questions that either side may submit to the other. They must be asked and answered in writing and under oath.
- Physical exams: One party can ask the other party to submit themselves for a physical examination in order to gather relevant information.
- Subpoenas: A subpoena is a written request for the other party to produce documents, books, or other records for analysis. Subpoenas are written orders issued by the court.
- Document examination: In order to determine whether or not a document is valid or genuine, either side can submit discovery requests in the form of document examinations.
Request for Admissions Definition
In a civil procedure, requests for admission are a form of discovery that the requesting party submits. The request asks that the answering party admit or deny the truth of a particular statement under oath. They are submitted in the form of a written request. Any matter admitted as true in response to a request for admission is considered true for the duration of the trial.
It’s important to remember that requests for admission are governed by whichever form of civil procedure takes precedence. While some cases fall under their state’s rules of civil procedure, others fall under federal rules of civil procedure. Your personal injury attorney will understand which rules apply in your case, so you won’t have to worry about the process itself.
Requests for Admissions vs Interrogatories
While requests for admission and interrogatories may sound the same at first, they are notably different. As we stated earlier, interrogatories are written questions sent from the requesting party to the answering party. These questions can ask about anything that is not considered privileged, not relevant to a defense or a claim, or that does not place an unreasonable burden on the answering party.
Requests for admission are also written statements. However, these written statements are factual, and the request asks the answering party to admit, deny, or object to the statements. If the answering party admits to a statement or neither confirms nor denies it, the statement will be perceived as truthful for the duration of the trial.
To put it simply, an interrogatory is a written question, while a request to admit is a written statement to which the other party must truthfully admit or deny. They can also submit their answer as an objection or an explanation of why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the statement.
What Is the Purpose of a Request for Admission?
The central purpose of a request to admit is to narrow down the scope of what is actually in dispute during the trial. They help to speed the process along, as well as to establish what is true that pertains to the lawsuit.
What Does a Request for Admissions Do in a Personal Injury Case?
Every case involving multiple parties has multiple stories regarding what happened. In a personal injury case, requests for admission are extremely important in determining the immediate cause of the incident. Let’s look at an example to gain a better understanding of how a request to admit can help your personal injury claim.
- John and Amy are involved in a car accident. Amy alleges that John caused the accident because he was texting and driving.
- Amy files a lawsuit against John to recover compensation for her injuries and her lost wages. Her Phoenix attorney, during the discovery process, poses the following statement to the opposing party.
- Admit that you were texting and driving when the accident occurred. This is a reasonable inquiry.
- The other party must submit a written answer or objection. If the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the statement, they must explain why.
Do You Have to Answer a Request for Admissions?
Yes. You must submit a written answer or objection to every request from the party requesting. The party responding only has a certain amount of time to answer requests. If the responding party can only admit or deny a portion of a request, good faith requires that they specifically deny or admit only a part of the request. If the responding party objects to the request, they must explain why.
How Long Do You Have to Respond to a Request for Admissions?
Generally, the responding party has 30 days to respond to the request. The response must include either an admission, a denial, an objection, or an explanation as to why they cannot answer it. In some cases, the court permits a shorter or longer time to answer.
In Arizona, however, you have a longer amount of time to respond than the standard 30 days. The Arizona Rules state that 40 days are afforded to each side once they have been served their requests.
How to Respond to a Request for Admissions
It’s important to understand how to respond to these requests. With the help of a trustworthy attorney, you must answer every statement that the requesting party submits to you. Failing to respond to any request within 30 days will lead the requesting party to assume the matter admitted. Rather than submitting your admission, denial, or objection to the court, you will instead submit your answers to the requesting party. Below, we outline the different potential responses to a request for admission.
- Admit that the statement is true.
- Deny that the statement is true.
- Object to the statement, then explain why you object.
- Explain why you cannot fairly respond to the statement in one of the above ways. You can also explain why you admit or deny only a part of a statement.
How to Write a Better Request for Admission
Being able to write a good request for admissions is an important part of the pretrial conference and discovery period. Equally as important as being able to answer requests is the ability to write effective requests for admission. Other than to assert the validity of documents, requests for admission are generally utilized to the following ends.
- To obtain an admission that is useful for one’s case.
- To obtain a denial that might discredit the opposition.
If a request does not fulfill one of these purposes, it is essentially a waste of one of your forty requests. Refrain from asking the opposing party about something that has already been conclusively established. Also, refrain from making vague or too-broad statements to the other party.
What Are Unqualified Admissions?
There are essentially two types of admissions: unqualified admissions and qualifying admissions. Qualifying admissions are those which require further explanation than a simple admission or denial. Unqualified admissions are those that someone submits without further explanation.
How Many Requests for Admissions Are Allowed in Arizona?
Depending on the jurisdiction, a certain number of requests for admissions may be issued for one particular matter. The state admission rule in Arizona differs from the Federal Rules. While Federal Rules place no limit on the number of requests you can send to the opposing party, Arizona rules limit the number of requests to 25 per party.
For interrogatories, however, Arizona law allows more than federal law. Federal Rules allow up to 25 interrogatories, while Arizona law allows up to 40 interrogatories.
Contact a Qualified Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer Today
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we understand that the litigation process can often be long, confusing, and even frustrating at times. That’s why we put so much emphasis on ensuring that our clients are well-informed throughout the duration of their cases. Working with YMLG for your personal injury lawsuit will allow you to have as smooth a case as possible. We will not only defend your rights in court, but we will also give you the tools necessary to fight for your own rights. To schedule a consultation with attorneys you can trust, call our Phoenix law office at 602-910-4040 today.