Discovery process is one of the steps before the trial, where the two parties get a chance to collect information for strengthening their claim and defenses. The process of discovery can occur formally and informally. However, both types are usually required in a personal injury case.

Doing Your Homework

Informal discovery happens before filing of the lawsuit, where there is simple investigation of the claim and finding possible defenses. The process could involve the client being interviewed extensively, taking photos of the accident scene, reviewing past history of accidents of the two parties, inspecting medical records, collecting relevant documents, interviewing witnesses, product research, and other investigations. Informal discovery process starts just after the claim is made, and is done mainly for evaluating the claim.

The Transition

Whatever transpires during an informal discovery will be used for preparation of the lawsuit. Once the litigation process starts, there are many restrictions on an informal discovery and it therefore paves the way for a formal discovery.

This is why you build that case and your attorney will spearhead this process. But your attorney will not be at the scene of the accident or when the injury occurred. Your case should start to be built the moment you realize something happened. If you are capable of taking pictures and grabbing a couple names and phone numbers from some onlookers who can support your claim and accusation.

If you can do this you can make life much easier on your attorney who you will most likely be calling within 1 to 3 days.

A formal discovery will commence after the litigation process has started. There will be a formal request for documents and information through court channels and the process will be governed by civil procedure rules. Formal discovery will usually consist of:

  • Interrogatories request, where questions will be asked to the concerned parties
  • Production of documents that support the claim or defense will be requested
  • Depositions where the party will be questioned by the opposing attorney under oath in the presence of a court reporter who will be recording everything

Whatever transpires or whatever information is gathered during formal discovery can be introduced during the trial as evidence.

Decision by an Attorney

Information gathered during informal discovery will help the parties to form their strategies for the formal procedure. Discovery forms the most important element of a personal injury case right from the start. Usually the lawyer, the one you call and choose to meet with, will determine whether to accept the client's case after an informal discovery.