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The Rohrstaff Law Firm

The Rohrstaff Law Firm

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What does "discovery" mean in a lawsuit?


After a lawsuit (complaint) is filed, both sides begin a process called "discovery". Discovery is the early part of the litigation process during which the injured person (plaintiff) and responsible party (defendant) exchange information about the claimed negligence (wrongdoing) and defenses to the claim of wrongdoing.

Discovery comes in several forms:

Interrogatories are written questions that must be answered under oath - just as if you were sworn in to testify in court.

 Requests for documents and things are just what the name sounds like. Each side asks the other to produce documents (correspondence, photographs, email and many other documents that are listed in the request).

Depositions are question-and-answer sessions when witnesses are questioned under oath (just as if you were sworn in to testify in court). They are usually held in conference rooms in lawyers' offices. A court reporter will be present to record every word that is spoken by the lawyer asking the questions and the witnesses answering them. Depositions can also be videotaped.

It is very important that your lawyer know everything about your case that can be known. What you do not tell your lawyer about your injury and what happened can cause you to lose your case.

If you have questions about what happens during a lawsuit, we will be happy to answer any of your quesitons. 


Sandra Rohrstaff
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Virginia Child Injury and Elder Abuse Attorney