Discovery in Mesothelioma Cases
An important part of any lawsuit is the discovery process. Discovery is a pre-trial phase of a lawsuit in which all parties involved request and gather information related to the case. Due to the complex nature of mesothelioma claims, the discovery phase is critical. For victims in mesothelioma claims, it is important to be prepared for extensive questioning related to many different aspects of the person’s life. While this may seem personally invasive, it is a necessary step in the development of the claim.
What Does Discovery in Mesothelioma Cases Entail?
Discovery occurs before a trial begins and allows each party to obtain evidence from all opposing parties. In order to collect this evidence and information, the parties make use of interrogatories, requests for depositions, production of documents, and admissions. A majority of the information that will be involved in the case is exchanged during this phase of the lawsuit.
The information and evidence collected during discovery helps to give the attorneys a clearer idea of how the lawsuit may unfold if it continues all the way to trial. As a result of this, many settlements occur during the discovery phase, after the attorneys have a better sense of the potential chances of success.
Victims of mesothelioma who file a lawsuit seeking damages will be faced with thorough questioning and personal requests by the defendant. Some of the information that will likely be requested includes the following:
- Employment history;
- Medical history;
- Family history of asbestos-related diseases or cancer;
- Whether the victim is a smoker or was in the past;
- Where and how the exposure to asbestos occurred;
- Whether the victim’s employer instituted any regulations intended to limit asbestos exposure; and
- The initial date and frequency of exposure.
It is important to be aware that the above are just some of the questions that may be raised by the defendant. There will likely be many more related to the victim’s exposure, diagnosis, and treatment. One way in which a victim will provide answers is through the use of interrogatories. These are like questionnaires in which written answers are provided.
Another way in which evidence and information is collected is through depositions. During a deposition, answers to questions are provided while under oath. Additionally, depositions are recorded and videotaped for documentation purposes. Both parties to the lawsuit will also contact the victim’s family members, co-workers, and former employers to collect more information. The victim’s primary healthcare provider will also have to answer questions related to the medical condition and treatment of the victim.
Some depositions last for only a few hours, while others may span over the period of several days. The length of time depositions last depends on a variety of issues, such as the complexity of the case. The entire discover phase typically lasts several months.
Compassionate Help for Victims
For more information about methods of recovery for mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel the country to provide representation to victims of these aggressive diseases.