Discovery takes place in both state and federal court after your lawsuit is filed and before it’s tried in the courtroom.
When a lawsuit is filed, both sides have the right to get answers from the other using a process called deposition, which is basically questioning under oath. When the other side questions you, you will always have one of our lawyers with you. Likewise, we are entitled to ask the person who hurt you, under oath and in writing, how and why the accident occurred.
A case can involve depositions of the physicians who take care of you, and of your life care planner. A life care planner is the person who figures out what kind of care you’re going to need and how long you’ll need it. If you’ve lost wages or you will in the future, we can also depose a forensic expert to determine your financial needs.
We’re also allowed to depose corporate representatives. For instance, maybe there’s an allegation that they failed to hire a properly qualified driver in a tractor-trailer case. We can depose that corporate rep, with a court reporter in the room, to find out why they failed to follow state and federal law. And all of this occurs before you go to trial so that they know what our side’s going to say, and we know what their side’s going to say.
Both sides also have the right during discovery to request certain documents. The other side can request your medical records, employment records, canceled checks and things of that nature.
They also have to provide us documents. In a tractor-trailer crash, we would be entitled to the driver’s logbooks and maintenance books. In a coal mining accident, it could be training records, mine maps, productions logs, etc.
The discovery process very helpful for the people that we sue to evaluate the case and decide whether or not they’d prefer to settle the case, rather than go to trial. The use the process to figure out how much money they’re likely to lose if they take the case all the way to trial.
Discovery can be a very long, but useful process, to help both sides prepare for trial, should it come to that. If you have any questions about the process, you can always call me toll free at 855-344-9100.