What is Discovery (Law)?
In the United States, discovery refers to the pre-trial phase in a legal suit in which each party, through civil procedure, obtains evidence from the opposing side by means of legal devices including requests for answers to interrogatories, as well as the requests for depositions, the production of documents and admissions. The discovery portion of a trial, in most civil suits, is where a settlement or decision is usually reached. Both parties typically opt to negotiate during this portion of the trial because it serves as an accurate forecaster to reveal which side has the better case. Because the majority of information is exchanged during discovery, the sides will negotiate and affirm a settlement to take the courts (and the associated costs) out of the equation. Although the majority of civil cases end in the discovery phase, requests for discovery may be objected to. When this occurs, the requesting party may seek the assistance of the court system through the filing of a motion to compel discovery.
In the United States, civil discovery is a wide-ranging legal phase that may involve any material which is deemed as reasonably calculated to lead to qualified evidence. Admissible evidence in this regard is a far broader standard than relevance, because it anticipates the exploration of evidence that may be deemed relevant as opposed to evidence which is actually relevant.
Certain types of information are withheld from the discovery phase, including information that is regarded as privileged. For example, juvenile criminal records are typically not accepted, nor are peer review findings by hospitals allowed in the discovery phase.
What is Mesothelioma Cancer?
Mesothelioma cancer is a rare disease that evolves from the transformation of cells in the mesothelium, the protective layer of cells that covers the lungs, heart and abdomen. The bulk of mesothelioma cases derive from asbestos exposure. When undisturbed asbestos poses minimal threats to human beings; however, when disturbed, asbestos releases cancerous dust into the air. When these filaments are inhaled they build-up in the protective tissues and eventually eat-away at the lining. As the cancer eats away it proliferates to remote areas of the body, forming tumors along the way.
The main problem with mesothelioma is that the disease is nearly impossible to diagnose. Complications regarding mesothelioma diagnosis stem from the cancer’s slow-developing symptoms and innocuous cellular structure. Frequently, a mesothelioma patient will not feel sick or notice symptoms until 25-50 years after their first exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, when symptoms become tangible, the disease has proliferated to the point where it becomes inoperable. When mesothelioma advances into its latter stages, only palliative treatment options are available to mitigate the associated symptoms. These treatment methods are elective and will only be administered to bolster the patient’s quality of life. Again, in the disease’s advanced stages, mesothelioma cancer is deemed inoperable.
What is Mesothelioma Case Discovery?
If you have been recently diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma cancer, it is important that you talk to a mesothelioma lawyer concerning your legal options. Choosing to file a mesothelioma suit will not only help bring your employer—and the asbestos industry as a whole—to justice, but the case will also bear potential to receive compensation to provide compensation for missed wages, medical expenses and other expenses associated with asbestos-related conditions.
One of the most important steps in a mesothelioma case is discovery. Choosing the right mesothelioma lawyer to guide you through this process could mean the difference between winning and losing your mesothelioma case.
Mesothelioma case discovery is the process in which your mesothelioma lawyer collects and investigates information connected to your case. The discovery process is where working with your mesothelioma lawyer shows its benefits, as the legal professional will handle every matter of the mesothelioma investigation. Take note; however, that you may be requested to discuss with your employer’s mesothelioma lawyers to answer questions regarding your case. When asked questions, be sure to answer them honestly and completely as possible.
During the mesothelioma case discovery phase, mesothelioma lawyers will be very thorough and personal when asking these questions. Even some of the most insignificant details may help you win your case so be sure to answer these inquiries to the fullest extent possible. Some questions you must be prepared to answer during the mesothelioma case discovery include the following:
• What is your employment history?
• What is your medical history?
• Do you have any other unrelated health problems?
• Do you have a family history of asbestos-related diseases or cancer?
• Do you smoke? Have you smoked in the past? Understand that this does not cause or increase the probability of developing mesothelioma cancer.
• Where and how were you exposed to asbestos fibers?
• Did your employer implement any regulations or protocol to limit your asbestos exposure?
• When were you first exposed to asbestos fibers?
The above list represents only a sliver of the potential questions asked during mesothelioma case discovery. There are a number of other questions that will be asked regarding your diagnosis and the mesothelioma treatment you received. You may also be required to fill-out interrogatories—which is similar to a questionnaire—to further illuminate your mesothelioma claim.
In addition to an interrogatory, you will also be required to partake in a deposition. During depositions, you will be sworn under oath and asked to explain or illuminate certain questions regarding your mesothelioma case. All depositions are recorded and videotaped for formal documentation purposes. Before you begin answer said questions, you should meet with your mesothelioma lawyer to review likely inquiries. The bulk of depositions will only last a few hours, but in some situations, a deposition may take place over a period of a few days.
Your mesothelioma lawyer, along with your employer’s mesothelioma lawyer, will partake in the deposition portion of a mesothelioma discovery case. Both sets of lawyers will also contact people close to you, including your family members, co-workers and previous employers to gather more information regarding you and your illness. Your medical professional who is responsible for diagnosing your cancer may also be asked to answer questions concerning your medical condition (both present and past) and the types of treatment decisions rendered. During the deposition both sets of lawyers will be extremely thorough with their questioning to develop a strong case.
The length of your mesothelioma discovery case will depend on the medical urgency of your claim and how long your employer and your mesothelioma lawyer needs to go over the necessary information. To be as thorough as possible, the mesothelioma discovery process may last several months; however, if your mesothelioma is considered extremely time sensitive, the process may be expedited to resolve your claim before your cancer takes your life.