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What Is Discovery in the Legal Process?

Discovery is an essential step in civil procedures. The discovery process gives the legal teams on both sides of a dispute the opportunity to obtain a better understanding of each side’s strengths and weaknesses before determining how to proceed.

Upon reviewing the available evidence, the parties may agree that it is best to settle the case out of court rather than presenting it to a judge and jury, or they may become more confident in their arguments and decide to proceed to trial.

During discovery, the lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant disclose and share evidence relevant to the case and can seek additional evidence by asking questions and making requests. Some of the tools that a lawyer may use during discovery include:

  • Interrogatories — An interrogatory is a document that includes questions that one side wants the other side to answer in writing, under oath. A person who receives an interrogatory must provide truthful answers within a specified period of time.
  • Request for production of documents — One side can ask the other to hand over copies of emails, journal entries, photographs or other documents that may be relevant to the case.
  • Request for admissions — As part of discovery, you can present a statement to the other party and ask them to admit or deny its validity under oath. A statement that is verified as true becomes a matter of fact for any subsequent trial or settlement negotiations.
  • Deposition — The legal teams of both the defendant and the plaintiff may question witnesses under oath outside of court before the trial, asking them to provide sworn testimony that may help clarify issues of contention. Read more about deposition here.

West Virginia also allows physical and mental examinations to be used as discovery methods and enables either side to request permission to enter and inspect the private property.

Discovery is not about deciding who is right and who is wrong, but it does give you the chance to see how strong your case is in comparison to the opposition. It can also help set the facts straight and create a clear record of documents that an attorney can use when shaping legal strategy.

Our attorneys at Prim Law Firm, PLLC are meticulous and precise during the discovery process. We ask questions carefully designed to obtain the answers we need to construct strong cases.

With more than 30 years of combined experience, we skillfully handle civil suits for individuals hurt in personal injury accidents, including those harmed by defective products. To schedule a free initial consultation with our office in Hurricane, West Virginia, call 304-721-4619 or contact us online.