Understanding the Discovery Phase of Litigation

Understanding the Discovery Phase of Litigation

Jo sustained serious injuries in a car accident caused by her boyfriend, Alex. His insurance company was lowballing her about compensation, so Jo decided maybe it was time to sue them. As she talked to her new personal injury lawyer, she realized that there was more to a lawsuit than just filing a few papers at the courthouse. Jo was especially interested in learning more about the discovery phase of litigation and would be expected of her.

6 Stages of a Lawsuit

There are many reasons for one individual to sue another. Car accidents are a common cause of personal injury claims. However, plaintiffs might file lawsuits over disputed estates, breach of contract, intellectual property infringement, medical malpractice, and more.

Most litigation proceeds along the following rough timeline:

  • Investigation/pre-filing when you and your attorney learn more about the facts of your case.
  • Initiation, when you file a complaint or petition with the appropriate court clerk.
  • Discovery, during which you and the opposing side exchange information.
  • Motions, when attorneys present motions to the court for consideration.
  • Pre-trial, where you put the final touches on a case or work hard to negotiate a settlement.
  • Trial, which usually ends with a decision by the jury or judge.

While the discovery phase is only one stage, it’s a pretty important one.

Spotlighting the Discovery Phase of Litigation

Plaintiffs usually know the facts of their own cases before they file their lawsuit. However, the discovery phase of litigation can be a real eye-opener because they have the opportunity to learn more about the defendant’s case.

You might encounter one or all of the following types of discovery:

  • Depositions. The parties to the case and witnesses give testimony before a court reporter. Deposition testimony can be used to prepare for trial and during the trial.
  • Requests for Production of Documents. Each party may ask the other party to send them documents related to the case. Some documents might be considered privileged. This means that they do not have to be disclosed to the other party.
  • Request for Admissions. This document contains statements. The party sending the admissions wants the receiving party to admit or deny the statements.
  • Interrogatories. One party may send the other a written set of questions called interrogatories.

Failing to respond to documents sent during the discovery phase or responding incorrectly can really hurt your case.

Your Job During Discovery

First and foremost, listen to your attorney’s instructions. What you say and don’t say are both critical. Your attorney may ask you to answer interrogatories. Depending on the type of lawsuit, you might have to sign releases allowing your attorney to get medical records. Your attorney will ask for important documents because the opposing side might be entitled to copies of them.

Once you get through the discovery phase of litigation, you will know more about your opponent’s case. You’ll also have a better idea of your case’s strengths and weaknesses. Your attorney will use this information to plan how to proceed.

We Can Help You Get Through the Discovery Phase of Litigation

Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, you need an experienced legal counselor when handling a lawsuit.

At the Dailey Law Firm, P.C., our team of skilled lawyers and professionals provide the high-quality legal services you need. Call us at 844-342-5353 to set up a free consultation or use the Contact Form on our website. There’s no fee for personal injury cases unless we win.

We represent clients throughout the entire United States. You can reach us online or visit one of our offices in Detroit, MI; Chicago, IL; or Valparaiso, IN.

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