The Discovery Process
You’ve been hurt in an accident because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence. You’ve hired an experienced attorney, who has filed a personal injury complaint on your behalf, and the defendant has replied, denying the allegations. What happens next?
The Discovery Process
Typically, once the parties have timely filed a complaint and an answer, the judge assigned to the case will call a first meeting, with a few specific objectives:
- To learn a bit more about the details of the case
- To encourage the parties to find a way to settle the dispute without the need for a trial
- The identification of a timetable for the completion of discovery
What Is Discovery in the Legal Process?
Discovery refers to the gathering of evidence by the parties. In the American system of justice, the concept of “open discovery” generally applies. That means that both parties have a right to access to all evidence obtained. The parties may not refuse to disclose evidence or the names of potential witnesses.
Discovery takes a variety of forms:
- Depositions—A deposition is a scheduled questioning of a particular witness. The deposition may take place anywhere, but is usually conducted at an attorney’s office. Lawyers for all parties have a right to be at the deposition and to ask questions. The person being questioned is under oath and all questions and responses are typically recorded by a court reporter.
- Interrogatories—These are written questions submitted by one party to the other. The interrogatories must be answered in writing. It’s fairly common for the court to place some limitations on interrogatories, so that parties don’t use them to force opponents to spend unnecessary time and money answering them.
- Requests for production—A party may ask opposing counsel to produce records, documents, physical evidence or other items that are relevant to the determination of liability.
Contact the Cintron Firm
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or (201) 535-0323 to set up an appointment.