Part of going through litigation is the discovery process. Both parties must provide the other with “discovery.” It doesn’t matter if the case is civil, family law, or criminal. You can’t negotiate a settlement or have a successful trial without the discovery response process – unless the defendant admits wrongdoing and agrees to pay what you ask.
What is Discovery?
The Rules of Civil Procedure state that the plaintiff and defendant must submit “discovery” to each other. This is done through requests for discovery, interrogatories, requests for admissions, and, sometimes, depositions. Once the defendant files a response to the complaint, the discovery process starts. However, the plaintiff and defendant could submit discovery before the other side asks for it.
The Rules of Civil Procedure dictate what the two parties must forward to the other side. The law also gives the amount of time allowed and different rules regarding discovery.
Review of Discovery
Once your attorney receives the discovery, they review it to ensure the defense provides everything. If not, the plaintiff’s attorney has the right to request more discovery. How does an attorney know if something is missing? He matches it with the facts the plaintiff relayed to him and against the plaintiff’s discovery being provided to the defense.
Generally, the first step in the discovery process is to forward a request for discovery and interrogatories. If the attorney does not believe that the defendant adequately responded, he can set up depositions and file requests for admissions. The attorney can also forward additional interrogatories.
Finally, if the attorney is still unsatisfied that the defendant produced everything, he can subpoena documents and oral depositions from third parties.
Finally, if the plaintiff’s attorney believes the defendant is still holding out on discovery, he can file a Motion to Compel with the court. The motion might request full disclosure in general or list specific documents or items the defendant should have provided.
To properly represent your interests, a trial attorney must be aggressive enough to obtain discovery – evidence – that the defendant might be withholding. The defendant will often tell their attorney that a document doesn’t exist or that she can’t get the document. Of course, the defense attorney believes his client. The plaintiff’s attorney’s job is to hold the defendant’s feet to the fire to ensure he obtains all of the evidence and discovery for the case.
Contact a Trial Lawyer at Kramer Trial Lawyers
When you need to sue someone, the case could settle. Whether it settles or goes through litigation, you still need to go through the discovery process to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve. For example, in a truck accident case, you need to know if the truck driver was negligent – the only way to do that is to go through the discovery process to obtain driver logs, truck repair and maintenance logs, inspection sheets, and other documents.
Contact a trial attorney at Kramer Trial Lawyers today for a case evaluation if you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence.