Apr 17, 2024

What Happens During the Discovery Process?

Business professionals shaking hands over a desk with financial charts, symbolizing agreement during the discovery process in legal proceedings

Much of the legal process after an accident comes blanketed with a layer of complex legal jargon, phrases, and terminology. However complicated it may seem, though, a majority of the steps you’ll take to recover what you’re entitled to are relatively straightforward, especially with the involvement of a legal professional.

Once the legal process begins, you and the party you’ve filed a claim against will enter the discovery process. This is simply the stage where both parties locate and evaluate evidence to support their claim. It’s then shared amongst the courtroom to formulate legal arguments and prepare each side for a fair trial.


What Are the Stages of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal injury lawsuits all generally follow the same structure. Here’s a brief overview of the process:

  • Consultation with an Attorney: An initial meeting to discuss the facts of your case, where the attorney evaluates the strength of your claim and advises you on your legal options.
  • Filing the Lawsuit: When you officially start the legal process by filing a complaint against the defendant. The complaint will include the nature of your injuries and how they occurred.
  • Discovery Phase: Where both parties exchange evidence and information, which includes depositions, requests for documents, and interrogatories of relevant parties.
  • Pre-Trial Motions and Settlement Discussions: Includes attempts to settle the case out of court and motions filed to resolve or narrow the issues before trial. 
  • Trial: If a settlement is not reached, the case goes to trial. Your legal team will need to present evidence and arguments to the judge/jury.
  • Verdict and Judgment: When the judge or jury makes a decision on the case. If the plaintiff wins, the judgment will specify the amount of compensation awarded.

Most cases end in settlement discussions, but there’s always a chance that neither party will agree on an outcome. It’s important to have an experienced legal representative at your side for this very reason, as you don’t want to find yourself without one if the situation gets complicated.


What Are the Types of Discovery in Personal Injury?

There are a few different methods legal teams leverage to collect evidence for their clients, including:

  • Interrogatories: Written questions requiring formal answers under oath, aimed at gathering factual information from the other party.
  • Depositions: Verbal questioning of parties and witnesses under oath that’s recorded by a court reporter to obtain detailed testimonies and clarifications for analysis and record-keeping.
  • Requests for Production: Demands for relevant documents, such as medical records, accident reports, or emails, that are pertinent to the case.
  • Requests for Admissions: Statements sent to the opposing party requesting them to admit or deny certain facts, helping to streamline the issues in dispute.
  • Physical or Mental Examinations: If a party’s physical or mental condition is in question, the court may order an examination to assess the extent of any claimed injuries.

All of the above serve to uncover the finer details of the accident. Lawyers use this information to craft arguments on behalf of their clients. The better the evidence, the stronger the case.


Pitfalls to Avoid During the Discovery Process

Like most of the legal process, it’s best to enter the discovery process with as much information as possible. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid during this important step:

  • Failing to Preserve Evidence: Not securing all relevant evidence properly and promptly can lead to the loss or damage of crucial information.
  • Overlooking Privacy Concerns: Disclosure of unnecessary personal information can potentially violate privacy, work against your argument, and prejudice the case.
  • Inadequate Preparation for Depositions: Poor preparation can lead to inconsistent or damaging testimony, which can damage your credibility and muddy the true information.
  • Missing Deadlines: Failing to respond to discovery requests on time can result in penalties and restrictions on your ability to use certain evidence.
  • Underestimating the Opponent’s Discovery Requests: Not taking the opponent’s requests seriously can lead to being caught off-guard and misstepping.


Contact Morgan and Morgan

In the most difficult moments of your life, Morgan and Morgan has your back. From filing your claim to collecting your rightful restitution, you need an attorney who has the experience, resources, and compassion to see your case through to the very end. Fortunately, our team checks all the boxes, and we come with no upfront costs.

We’re here whenever you’re ready. Complete our free, no-risk case evaluation to get started.