Part of our work as a personal injury lawyer Memphis, TN calls upon for help is to educate our clients about what happens during the course of a lawsuit. Although the lawyers at our firm are experienced and well-versed in the process of litigation, most clients are not. One of the most frustrating parts of a lawsuit for many clients is the discovery phase of the case.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is the portion of a lawsuit during which the parties and lawyers engage in a number of activities to “discover” the facts, information and claims known by the other side. This phase of the lawsuit occurs after the initial Complaint has been filed and answered. In this post, we will discuss three of the most common forms of written discovery.
“Interrogatories” and “Requests for Production of Documents” are two common forms of written discovery. These documents are usually the first step in the discovery process. Interrogatories are questions a party is required to answer as part of a lawsuit, and document requests are just what they sound like—one party is asking the other to provide copies of various documents that may provide information relevant to the case.
We advise our clients to be as thorough as possible when answering written discovery, and to let us make the ultimate decision on what is relevant and what is not. It is important to include every piece of information because – if you don’t – then you might be prohibited from using it to your advantage later on in the case. Don’t assume that you can leave out bad information and hope the opposing attorney will not find out. They will. They always do. For example, having a DUI in your past might be embarrassing, but it may not ultimately even be admissible. However, lying about it (i.e. failing to disclose it) will be a problem. The same goes for prior accidents or injuries that you think may make your case seem weaker. Disclose all information and let your attorney help decide how to deal with it. Do not worry (or be upset) if there are questions that seem irrelevant, nosy, mean, or even silly. Rest assured that you are not being targeted for special inquiry, and that the same types of questions are asked of everyone, not just you. Your attorney will review and finalize your answers, so make sure that you supply all information to your attorney so that he or she can make a proper determination.
Another common form of written discovery in a lawsuit is the issuance of “Subpoenas” to third parties, or persons who are not part of the lawsuit, to obtain their documents and records. A subpoena is a piece of paper issued by the court clerk directing a person or business to provide copies of the documents requested within a certain amount of time.
Thanks to our friends and contributors at Wiseman Bray PLLC who have significant experience in personal injury litigation and in fighting for personal injury victims