The Discovery Process of Accidental Injury Law: How Fact Finding Works

The Discovery Process of Accidental Injury Law: How Fact Finding Works

One of the main concepts of the legal system in the United States is the notion that participants should expect as few unexpected events as possible over the duration of a legal case. In the 1940’s, it was decided that the federal court system would ensure that all participants gave over their knowledge of all relevant information, documents, and facts to the opposing side of a trial – since this idea came to be, almost all states in the country have followed suit. This type of disclosure, or information sharing, is done through a means known as “discovery.” There are three different types of discovery in this context: depositions, the procurement of documents, and discoveries which have been written down.

Breakdown: How Written Discoveries Work

There are two primary kinds of written discoveries: interrogatories and requests for admission. Interrogatories are the more common of the two types and involve questions which ask about your version of the events which took place. Generally, these questions come in the form of a generic document, however, it is possible that your case may require a unique document. Some of the questions you may find in an interrogatory document include general ones like “What happened on June 3rd, 2012?” or very specific questions such as “Do you firmly state that the defendant was driving a red Toyota on June 3rd, 2012?” Your lawyer will be able to help you answer these questions, which is especially important for ones which may be misleading or hard to understand.

On the other hand, requests for admission are far less common but may be useful. These requests ask an entity to either admit or deny their stance on facts related to the case at hand. The entity may receive a penalty if they refuse to answer, do not answer in a timely manner, or provide a false answer.

Breakdown: Document Production

In most cases, the general rule of thumb is this: any participant in the case will be allowed to view most relevant documents. If your case involves medical malpractice, a defective product, or is otherwise potentially complex, there might be a great many of these kinds of documents.In recent years, it’s become more common for courts to allow for digital documents to be included in the process of discovery. Keep in mind that this might even include the participants to reconstruct or otherwise retrieve computer files which had been previously deleted – emails might be one such example. This is not common and usually only takes place when a great deal is at stake.

Breakdown: What are Depositions?

A deposition is known as a “sworn statement.” In a nutshell, this means that all questions you answer from an attorney during the deposition will be recorded verbatim. Depositions can be as short as an hour or quite lengthy, perhaps up to a week – it can depend on the nature of your case. Before being deposed, discuss it with your attorney and take his or her advice. They can best inform you as to how to behave, act, and how to say the right things at the right times.

Breakdown: Keep These Points in Mind About the Discovery Process

  • Always tell the truth. If you’re found to be providing false information during the discovery process, your odds of losing the case become much, much greater.
  • The discovery process may feel very stressful. It can take a long time, cost a lot, and feel intrusive at times. Before starting a lawsuit of this nature, you should deeply consider as to whether you’re comfortable with this kind of scrutiny.
  • Tell your attorney everything and always be honest. They won’t be able to help you if you don’t tell them everything exactly as you know it to be true.
  • Remember that it’s very possible that all facts, details, and information about the situation will almost certainly be revealed during the discovery process.

It’s Imperative to Speak to an Attorney

The discovery process is a no-nonsense affair. The opposing side of the case will do everything in their power to challenge or discredit your version of events – be prepared to face this kind of strong challenge. The best possible way to equip yourself for this kind of scrutiny and any unforeseen events during the case is with the aid of a professional attorney.