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Understanding the Discovery Process in a Lawsuit

If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, you may be confused about all the different parts and components. One of the most confusing aspects of any lawsuit is the discovery process. This is when evidence and facts are exchanged between the two (or more) parties involved.

Essentially, discovery is the official, legal term used to describe the processes that require the parties involved in a lawsuit to exchange information that each of the sides possess. Here, you can learn more about the discovery process, all the tools that are used, and how a dispute is resolved.

The Process of Discovery Explained

After a lawsuit has been filed, then the official start of the litigation in court is marked. In most cases, after a defendant answers the complaint, then discovery begins. A formal request or requests are sent from one side to the other, which can request a number of things, including:

  • Medical files
  • Answers to questions
  • Tax records
  • Information stored electronically
  • Audio or video recordings

The evidence and information requested is vast and in most cases, the discovery process will have a time limit, which is set by the court. However, there are some situations where the parties involved will agree to extend the deadlines for this process.

In some cases, discovery is something that is handled in rounds, which allow the parties to negotiate a settlement in between the often-expensive rounds of discovery. When new information is gathered, the parties are able to better determine the position they have, which means they may be more willing to make a deal.

Tools of Discovery

In a federal case, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will determine the parameters of the discovery process. However, for state cases, the rules are created by the civil procedure. In order to facilitate the exchange of the information, no matter if it is a state or federal case, discovery tools are used. These include:

  • Initial disclosures
  • Depositions
  • Interrogatories
  • The request to produce documents
  • Requests for admission
  • Requests for physical inspection

Disputes in the Discovery Process

If a dispute arises during discover, which usually happens, then the court is going to serve as the arbiter of it. There are several reasons that a dispute may occur, but in most cases, it is due to a discovery request not being responded to because of an objection.

When you are facing any type of personal injury case, it is imperative that you utilize the help of a personal injury attorney. They will be able to research the case and determine what needs to be done to help you get the compensation you deserve. While the discovery process can be somewhat complex, with an attorney, you can feel confident it will be handled properly.