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If you’re involved in a civil lawsuit, you’ll likely hear the term “discovery.” You may know vaguely what it is from having watched legal-themed TV shows. It applies to criminal as well as civil cases. In essence, it’s the disclosure of all relevant information to the other side prior to the trial. Both sides are required to “lay their cards on the table,” so to speak, so there are as few surprises as possible.

Depositions, which we discussed here recently, are an important source of discovery. Both parties in the suit, as well as witnesses or those with relevant facts, can be deposed.

Discovery also typically includes providing documents to the other side. It may also involve written interrogatories where a person answers a number of questions on a pre-printed form.

It’s essential to work closely with your attorney to ensure that they have everything they need to present the other side as part of the discovery process. That may mean disclosing things that are embarrassing or may not make you look good.

However, it’s better for the information to come from you than from the other side. If you’re not completely honest and thorough in answering your attorney’s questions and providing the information they need to present in discovery, you’re only going to make a judge and/or jury wonder what else you may be hiding or not being honest about.

Your attorney will discuss the type of information they need for discovery. It’s better to tell them more than they need to know than to hold something back because you don’t think it’s important or won’t help you. Let them decide that. That’s why you need an experienced attorney you can trust to have your best interests in mind.