After a personal injury lawsuit is filed and the defendant is properly served both sides exchange information about the case.
This exchange is known as the discovery process. There are many different forms of discovery, or different ways to request or obtain information from the other side in a case.
In Washington, the rules governing the discovery process are quite broad and allow each side to investigate what evidence and witnesses may be introduce at trial.
Even if the requested information does not appear directly relevant to the case, it may still be a proper request if it could lead to the discovery of relevant information.
Specific Examples of the Discovery Process
One form of discovery may involve sending or answering written questions called interrogatories. There may also be written requests for production of documents and other materials that are relevant to the claims being made in the suit.
There may be limits to the number of written questions or requests that can be exchanged, depending on the local court rules. When the interrogatories and request for production are answered and completed, you must also execute a document stating that the answer and responses are true and accurate.
Another form of discovery may include a deposition. This is a face-to-face meeting where the attorneys are allowed to ask witnesses questions under oath while a court reporter transcribes the session.
Any witness who may offer testimony at trial can be deposed: yourself, your doctor, the medical examiner or coroner, other family members, eyewitnesses and experts involved in the case.