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Discovery is a fact-finding process that takes place after a lawsuit has been filed and before trial in the matter, in order to allow the parties in the case to prepare for settlement or trial. It is based upon the belief that a free exchange of information is more likely to help uncover the truth regarding the facts in issue. Court rules and state rules of evidence govern the discovery procedure.
There are deadlines and guidelines for filing discovery requests and submitting answers. A failure to timely or properly answer a discovery request may lead to fines and other sanctions. Local laws vary, so laws in your area should be consulted for applicable requirements.
Some discovery methods include written questions called interrogatories, requests for admission which can be only admitted or denied, oral questions at depositions, requests for inspection of property impossible or impractical to move, and requests for production of papers and other physical items to be delivered to the requesting party.