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What Is Georgia’s Stay Of Discovery Rule?

Posted in Personal Injury on June 22, 2020

Any time a civil personal injury lawsuit is filed, the process can become incredibly complex. When an injury victim (the plaintiff) files a case against an alleged negligent party (the defendant), Georgia’s often complicated civil legal processes initiated. One of the most important aspects of a civil personal injury case is the “discovery.”

Discovery is when both parties, the plaintiff and the defendant, are doing exactly what the word suggests – they are discovering everything there is to know about the case so they can be prepared for trial. While most personal injury cases are settled out of court, that does not mean that the discovery process is any less important. Even if a case is settled before trial, this may not occur until right before the trial date, and a settlement may be prompted by evidence or testimony obtained during the discovery phase.

Stay of discovery

However, the discovery phase can be incredibly costly for both plaintiffs and defendants. Attorneys in these cases use extensive resources in order to investigate every aspect of a claim. This includes gathering evidence, drafting and filing motions, taking depositions, and more.

In Georgia, the “stay of discovery” rule could help stop unnecessary expenses, but it is important to understand how this rule works.

What is a “stay of discovery?”

A “stay” is another way to say “hold,” meaning that if a stay of discovery is ordered, then both the plaintiff and defendant can stop the process of obtaining evidence necessary to prove their case. There are various reasons the judges in a case can order a stay of discovery on their own. A stay of discovery is also automatic upon the filing of a motion to dismiss before or at the time of filing and answer. Under a Georgia law passed in 2009, discovery will be stayed for 90 days after the filing of such motion or until the court makes a ruling on the motion, whichever comes first. The court is required to decide the motion to dismiss within 90 days.

When a stay up discovery is ordered or is automatically started due to a motion to dismiss, the discovery period and every discovery deadline will be extended to the period equal to the duration of the stay of discovery imposed.

Why a stay of discovery is beneficial?

As mentioned above, the discovery phase of a personal injury case can be intense and lead to tremendous resources being used. If a motion to dismiss is filed by the defendant, the stay of discovery can help a defendant and a plaintiff save money in the event the motion is granted. If one or both parties in the case continue gathering evidence for the up to 90 days that the court has to review the motion to dismiss, and the motion is indeed granted, this would mean that any money spent on discovery during that period would have been needless expenses.

Is an attorney necessary for these cases?

Many people wonder whether they need an attorney for a personal injury case. Whether you are an injury victim or have been accused of causing harm to another person, you need to speak to an attorney about your case. The discovery process that we have discussed here is only one part of the overall court process for a personal injury case. There is simply too much at stake, and representing yourself in these matters could result in you either not receiving any compensation for your injuries or paying for injuries that you did not actually cause.

Please seek a free consultation from an Atlanta personal injury lawyer about your case as soon as possible.

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