What are “Requests for Admission of Fact?”
Early in the discovery period of a lawsuit, you may be served with a document titled “Requests for Admission of Facts” (commonly referred to as “requests for admission” or “RFAs”). RFAs are a discovery tool that allows either party to clarify their position about certain facts in a case which can narrow the issues that need to be heard at trial. Your Marietta personal injury attorney can explain further, but under Georgia statute:
“A party may serve upon any other party a written request for the admission, for purposes of the pending action only, of the truth of any matters within the scope of subsection (b) of Code Section 9-11-26 which are set forth in the request and that relate to statements or opinions of fact or of the application of law to fact, including the genuineness of any documents described in the request. Copies of documents shall be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or made available for inspection and copying. The request may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party.
O.C.G.A. § 9-11-36(a)(1).
As your Marietta personal injury attorneys can tell you, the most important aspect of these RFAs is the deadline within which you must respond and the consequences of failing to respond (the short version is: all of the allegations are deemed admitted). Under Georgia statute:
“Each matter of which an admission is requested shall be separately set forth. The matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after service of the request or within such shorter or longer time as the court may allow, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admission a written answer or objection addressed to the matter, signed by the party or by his attorney; but unless the court shortens the time, a defendant shall not be required to serve answers or objections before the expiration of 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon him. If objection is made, the reasons therefor shall be stated. The answer shall specifically deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter. A denial shall fairly meet the substance of the requested admission; and, when good faith requires that a party qualify his answer or deny only a part of the matter of which an admission is requested, he shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny the remainder. An answering party may not give lack of information or knowledge as a reason for failure to admit or deny unless he states that he has made reasonable inquiry and that the information known or readily obtainable by him is insufficient to enable him to admit or deny. A party who considers that a matter of which an admission has been requested presents a genuine issue for trial may not, on that ground alone, object to the request; he may, subject to subsection (c) of Code Section 9-11-37, deny the matter or set forth reasons why he cannot admit or deny it.
O.C.G.A. § 9-11-36(a)(2). As you can see, you and your Marietta personal injury attorney will need to craft responses to the RFAs that either admit or deny the allegations. If you are unable to admit or deny the allegations, you must respond as specifically stated in the statute above.
These RFAs can be used by either side in an injury case and can be quite useful. For instance, if the defense is unreasonably denying liability or fault for an incident, the added pressure of an RFA on this matter raises the risk to the defense that they may not be able to prove that they were taking that position in “good faith” and forcing you to litigate an issue that clearly should have never existed.
The Marietta personal injury attorneys at The Strickland Firm can help you understand your options going forward, and protect your rights if trial becomes necessary. Contact the offices today for a free consultation.