what is an initial disclosure statement?

Published: January 6, 2022
Utah's Best Lawyer

what is an initial disclosure statement?

Unlike the gotcha moments you see in the movies, the American judicial system is designed to ensure that the parties disclose all relevant information about their case early on. That means the parties have the opportunity to fully know and understand all of the strengths and weaknesses of the other side’s case long before a trial.

Obtaining information about the other side’s case happens in two ways.

First, through disclosure statements, the parties are required to voluntarily disclose certain categories of information without being asked for it by the other side. Second, through discovery, the parties are required to provide information specifically requested by the other side.

As it relates to the Initial Disclosure Statement, the parties must disclose information that may help to prove their claims or defenses, including, among other things, relevant information, documents, and witnesses.

The Initial Disclosure Statement is based on information that the parties already know or could find out with a reasonable amount of effort. Parties are required to provide an Initial Disclosure Statement even if the other side fails to do so. In addition, parties have an ongoing duty to supplement the Initial Disclosure Statement as additional information becomes available.

If a party fails to disclose required information, the Court may not allow that party to use the information at trial, which could destroy that party’s case.

There are specific disclosure requirements for specific types of cases, including family, eviction, probate, and personal injury cases. To learn more about the Initial Disclosure Statement requirements in Utah look at Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26.

timeline for serving an initial disclosure statement

In personal injury cases in Utah, the following timelines apply for serving an initial disclosure statement. Different timelines apply for certain other types of cases in Utah, including, among others, probate, eviction, and unlawful detainer actions.

The Plaintiff is required to serve his or her Initial Disclosure Statement within 14 days of when the Defendants files his or her Answer.

The Defendant is then required to serve his or her Initial Disclosure Statement in response within 42 days after the filing of the first Answer in the case or within 28 days of the Defendant’s first appearance in the case, whichever is later.

what information must be included in an initial disclosure statement?

In general, the parties are required to disclose:

  • Persons with Knowledge
    A list of the people who may have knowledge pertaining to the case, including their name, contact information, and a description of what information they may have pertaining to the case. This requirement covers people who may have information pertaining to either side’s claims in the case.
  • Witnesses
    A list of the witnesses a party may call at trial to support their case, including their name, contact information, and their likely testimony at trial.
  • Documents
    Copies of all the documents that support a party’s claims or defenses.
  • Electronically Stored Information
    Copies of electronically stored information. For example, e-mails or text messages that may support a party’s claims or defenses.
  •  Tangible Things
    Any physical objects that may support a party’s claims or defenses.
  • Documents Referred to in Pleadings
    Copies of any documents specifically referenced in the Complaint.
  • Damages
    A calculation of the plaintiff’s damages and evidence to support the damages.
  • Agreement to Satisfy, Indemnify, or Reimburse
    Copies of agreements that may require a third-party to satisfy the a judgment or settlement. For example, all applicable insurance policies must be disclosed.

For more information about the specific categories of information that must be disclosed in an Initial Disclosure Statement, please see Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1).

initial disclosure requirements in personal injury cases

In personal injury cases, the parties must disclose the information outlined above. In addition, parties to a personal injury case must disclose the following additional information.

The Plaintiff to a personal injury case must disclose the following information.

  • Health care providers who have treated or examined the Plaintiff for the injury.
  • Other health care providers who have treated or examined Plaintiff for any reason in the 5 years before the incident, and related information.
  • Plaintiff’s social security number or Medicare health insurance claim number, along with the Plaintiff’s full name and date of birth.
  • All disability or income-replacement benefits received by the Plaintiff (if the Plaintiff is asserting a claim lost wages), and related information.
  • A list of the Plaintiff’s employers for the 5 years preceding the incident (if the Plaintiff is asserting a claim lost wages), and related information.
  • Copies of bills, statements, or receipts for medical treatment, prescriptions, and/or out-of-pocket expenses incurred from the incident.
  • Copies of any investigative reports pertaining to the incident.
  • Copies of all written or recorded statements of individuals pertaining to the incident.

For more information about the specific disclosures required for Plaintiffs in Utah personal injury cases, please see Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26.2.

The Defendant in a personal injury case must disclose the following:

  • The amount of insurance coverage applicable to the claim, including any excess coverage, and any deductible, self-insured retention, or reservations of rights.
  • Unless the plaintiff makes a written request for the complete insurance pursuant to Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(D), the defendant may disclose a copy of the declaration page.  
  • Copies of any investigative reports pertaining to the incident.
  • Copies of all written or recorded statements of individuals pertaining to the incident.
  • Information required under Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 9(1) pertaining to allocation of fault.

The parties may move for a protective order to protect information that is sensitive, confidential or irrelevant to the claims and defenses. To learn more about protective orders, please see Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 37.

serving the initial disclosure statement

Initial Disclosure Statements must be served in accordance with Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 5, including by e-mail, mail, handing the disclosure statement to the opposing party, leaving it at the opposing party’s office or home (if the party is unrepresented), among others.

duty to supplement

The parties have continuing duty to supplement their Initial Disclosure Statements if they learn new information; discover new evidence; or learn that their original disclosures were incorrect or insufficient. The parties must supplement their Initial Disclosure Statement promptly. In addition, the parties are required to explain why the supplemental information was not originally disclosed in the Initial Disclosure Statement. These supplements are referred to as Supplemental Disclosure Statements.

For more information on the duty to supplement, please see Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26.

failure to disclose information

A party may be sanctioned by the Court for failing to disclose information or for failing to supplement his or her Initial Disclosure Statement as new information becomes available. Among other sanctions, the Court could order that the offending party is prohibited from using information at trial that he or she failed to timely disclose.

For more information on possible sanctions for a failure to disclose, please see Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26 and Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 37.  

If you need help with a Utah personal injury lawsuit, call Shane immediately. He has significant experience litigation experience. He represents injured clients in catastrophic injury cases throughout Utah. Call him immediately to discuss your case.

To contact Shane, call or text 385-429-9960 or e-mail s@gosdis.lawyer

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