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All About The Discovery Process

By far, the discovery process is the most important part of a lawsuit before the trial itself takes place. Preliminary hearings and meetings between the two sides are important and can establish ground rules for the suit, but discovery is when all the evidence comes out and both sides get a chance to learn what each other knows. You can make or break a case during discovery, and the reason most lawsuits end in settlements is because of what comes out during this process.

Gathering Evidence

The first purpose of the discovery process is to give both sides of a lawsuit time to build up a set of evidence that supports their arguments. For example, if the case centers around a traffic accident this evidence could include pictures of the damaged cars, pictures of the people injured by the collision, a police report of the incident, medical bills, and a bill for the car repairs or a professional certification that says the vehicle is a total loss.

Examining And Cross-Examining Witnesses

Witness accounts are often just as important as physical evidence and official documents like the damage estimates. Witnesses who saw what happened, including the drivers and passengers in the vehicles that got hit, can often make or break a case. Witness depositions are held under oath, so they’re just as binding as what a witness might say in the stand when a trial takes place. However, at a deposition the witness has a smaller audience and experiences less pressure, plus they can have a lawyer present who can remind them of their rights.

Keeping Up With The Opposition

There may have been surprise witnesses and courtroom twists once upon a time, but for the most part they don’t exist in the modern American legal system. Instead, both sides of a lawsuit have a right to see each other’s evidence, speak to each other’s witnesses, and issue each other subpoenas to get documents and other evidence the other side might prefer to hide. This allows both sides to be fully prepared if and when the case goes to trial, and so both sides can present the best case possible to the judge and jury.

Negotiating For A Settlement

Because both sides have access to all the evidence, it often becomes obvious to everyone who will win if the case makes it to trial. Trials are expensive for everyone involved, and so there’s no real reason to hold a trial if it’s clear who will win and the plaintiff can get everything they need from a settlement. As such, the discovery process also involves settlement negotiations between the two sides as the evidence piles up in favor of one side or the other.

Most personal injury cases that regular people go through will involve negotiating with an insurance company that protects the person or business that was responsible for the personal injury in question. Insurance companies have a strong financial desire to avoid paying for damages, or at least paying in full, and so they employ investigators, lawyers, and other experts who can find all the reasons the insurance company shouldn’t have to cover an accident. By taking your claim to court and the discovery process, you have a chance to lay out your side of the case.

You also have a chance to hire a professional of your own as a legal representative, and since most personal injury lawyers work on contingency they won’t cost you anything aside from a percentage of the final settlement. In southwestern Florida, the legal team to call is the All Injuries Law Firm of Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. Whether it’s a serious injury, destruction of property, or a wrongful death, our firm covers a wide variety of personal injuries.