How Long Does Discovery Take in a Lawsuit

The question, “How long does discovery last?” is one of many that lawyers face when representing their clients in a litigation situation. Often times, they have to make that determination after a client has received a settlement offer. However, discovery can occur prior to settlement, or even after a lawsuit has been filed and an attorney has been hired. There are a number of factors that go into determining the length of time a discovery process will take.

How Long Does Discovery Last?

First, attorneys are typically retained on a contingency fee basis. This means that they receive no money if they lose the case, and they only get money if they win the case. Attorneys may work on a contingency fee basis for years before ever getting any money from the opposing party, if they win the case. They may also be entitled to a small percentage of the final settlement or award if they are the winning party in the case.

Second, time restraints generally apply to attorneys.

Time is one of the biggest factors that influence the amount of time an attorney has to devote to a case. When time restraints are placed on discovery, it does not necessarily mean the case cannot be pursued. In most cases, it will be a matter of expediting the discovery process so that it fits within a reasonable time frame. Some courts are even willing to allow time restrictions on cases based on a hardship to the opposing party.

Third, attorneys may be paid on a contingency fee basis only where the opposing party or the court decides that it would be to their advantage to pay attorneys in full instead of using their portion of the settlement or award as compensation.

Sometimes, attorneys may be forced to take a contingency fee if they lose a case. Attorneys who file a motion to dismiss a case based on a hardship to their client may be required to pay their attorneys if they lose the case. This is often seen in personal injury claims where the lawyer may be required to hire a personal injury attorney if the claim is won.

Fourth, the actual time frame used for discovery may be called a “discovery process” by the court or referred to as “line of sight” evidence.

“Line of sight” evidence refers to information that can be seen by a particular person such as a camera or video recording. Generally speaking, an attorney has thirty days to discover any type of depositions, admissions, or written documents that are relevant to their client’s case. Sometimes, a longer period of time is specified by the court allowing discovery to continue even after a case has been lost.

Finally, some states allow for trial extensions.

For example, in a criminal case, a state law may require that discovery is completed within a certain period of time after arrest and booking or before a pretrial hearing. Other courts have allowed pretrial discovery, which means the parties and their attorneys may conduct meetings, depositions, and interview witnesses prior to a trial date. Both parties may agree on a time schedule and it is recommended that attorneys develop a written agreement regarding the number of months needed for discovery and when it will begin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *