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What Is the Discovery Process in a Civil Case?

Whether it’s texts, e-mails, bills, etc., you probably hold onto your personal information tightly. After all, they are your private property and no one else should have the right to access them.

But if you’re in the midst of a civil suit, some of this personal information could be up for grabs – so to speak. Through something called the discovery process, both the prosecution and the defense may have access to information and objects if they are potential evidence.

So, what exactly is this process, and what does it mean? We’ve got those answers for you here today, as well as some background, so let’s get straight into it.

What is the Discovery Process?

If you’re looking for the discovery definition, it’s best to look right at the name itself.

Like, the name suggests, it is about discovering new information, tangible objects, etc. It takes place before a trial begins and is governed by the rules of civil procedure.

Requests for discovery can be made by both the prosecution and the defense to obtain facts surrounding the case. There are a number of ways things can be obtained, as well, including:

  • Interrogatories
  • Requests for production of documents
  • Requests for admissions
  • Depositions

Interrogatory sounds a bit like an interrogation, and while it does involve questions, it’s a bit different. They are written questions that an individual has to answer in written form within a specific amount of time.

Depositions are different in that they are questions asked in person with a witness present. Also, depositions are recorded.

Requests for production is a request for any documents that may be used in a trial. They could be tangible items like physical items or documents or intangible items like electronic information.

Requests for admissions, on the other hand, are requests made to an individual that must be identified as either true or false. If a statement is admitted as true, it is treated as true throughout the duration of the trial.

What is the Purpose of Discovery?

In the end, the discovery process is about leveling the playing field between the prosecution and defense.

Because of discovery, there are few – if any – surprises for a lawyer, which could produce an unfair advantage. If one party knows of something the other doesn’t, then it could be said they were not given enough time to prepare a proper defense.

As you can tell, there is almost nothing that’s off the table when it comes to discovery, which is why experienced attorneys take full advantage of this process.

Understanding Your Case Better

If you’re in the middle of a civil suit to recover a debt, it can be a somewhat overwhelming process. There are a lot of words, definitions, and procedures to know and understand.

The discovery process is a big part of it all, and hopefully, by understanding this process you can better grasp your case as a whole. If you need qualified legal representation to help with recovering a debt, feel free to contact us right away!