Understanding the litigation process, starting with the discovery stage of a lawsuit
While nobody hopes to find themselves roped into a lawsuit, sometimes the law simply demands otherwise. And because there are two sides to every story, the litigation process was created to give each opposing party the opportunity to present their point of view of what occurred to the court. In the discovery stage each side is given the chance to gather information, investigate the facts, and learn the opinions of various witnesses. Below we explain this stage of the discovery stage of a lawsuit, including what can be discovered, how it is discovered, and why it is important to your case.
What Is Discovery? Discovery is the formal process of exchanging information between the parties about the witnesses and evidence ultimately to be presented at trial. The purpose is to make each party aware of the evidence on the table so that each side can properly prepare for trial. So, if you get served by the court to provide a testimony, odds are that they will be looking for a deposition, or sworn statement, about an event or situation.
What Is Discoverable? The basic rule of discovery is that a party may obtain any information pertaining to the lawsuit, as long as the information is not protected or privileged. The kind of information that a party can force someone else to reveal has some limits, including confidential conversations between husband and wife, lawyer and client, and doctors and patients, in addition to religious advisors. Discovery can be used to seek information not only from the other party to the lawsuit, but also from people and businesses that aren’t involved in the legal proceedings, as long as the information being sought is relevant to the issues surroundings your case.
How Is It Discovered? The discovery process is broken up into two sections: written and oral. Written discovery provides for the opportunity to request documents and ask questions in written form. Meanwhile, oral discovery occurs in person and is a face-to-face process of questioning parties and witnesses to the lawsuit. For the most part, discovery takes place outside of the courtroom either through formal interviews or depositions.
The discovery stage of a lawsuit is a critical time where evidence is gathered and strategies are formed. Just as important is having an attorney by your side who knows the right questions and the evidence needed for a complete understanding of the issues at hand. The experienced litigation attorneys of Anselmo Lindberg & Associates have the investigatory and analytical skills needed for you to get the most out of the discovery process, whether you are being called as a witness or involved in a more intricate level.