Discovery is the same in a UM/UIM case. Witnesses still have to appear for depositions, etc.
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This does seem a bit strange. I would talk to the lawyer of your UM/UIM insurance company and ask him why this is happening. If necessary, you might want to talk to a local area personal injury attorney to discuss this more thoroughly.
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A claim of UIM is still a claim no matter how you look at it. That is weird! Discovery doesn't happen until after you serve the defendant. CCP 2025.210(a): "The defendant may serve a deposition notice without leave of court at any time after that defendant has been served or has appeared in the action, whichever occurs first." So, when discovery starts, it depends on whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. Plaintiff can serve written discovery as early as ten days after the defendant has been served with the summons or has appeared in the case, whichever occurs first. Defendant can serve written discovery or deposition notice at any time. For plaintiff, a deposition notice must wait 20 days. There are some exceptions, but these are the general rules. You can find all the specifics beginning at section 2016 of the Code of Civil Procedure. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=ccp&group=02001-03000&file=2025.210-2025.290
Generally, defendant will wait until the lawsuit is underway and discovery has begun. However, early depositions can be used to catch the opponent off guard and unprepared. The normal course is to wait for written discovery to be served and answered, which will provide you with the facts and documents necessary to prepare thoroughly for the complete questioning of the witness.
I hope this helps. Goodluck!
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