The Importance Of The "Discovery" Stage In An Auto Accident Lawsuit

2 March 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Auto accident lawsuits can be very troubling and traumatic situations for those pursuing them. One of the most difficult of the many stages involved here is the discovery stage. Understanding this stage, and how auto accident attorneys approach it, is crucial to creating a winnable case.

What Is The Discovery Stage?

The discovery stage can also be considered the "research" stage. During this period, lawyers from both stages will look for evidence that supports their case. For example, a lawyer for the person pursuing the lawsuit will talk to various people at the crime scene to ensure that their version of the events is the same as that of their client. Discrepancies in stories can be very problematic here.

The lawyer and their team of assistants will work hard to identify pieces of evidence and will present them to the judge during the actual trial stage. Basically, the discovery stage sets the groundwork for the case and works to ensure that it is successful.

What Kind Of Evidence Are They Searching For?

In an auto accident lawsuit (like any personal injury case), the person who is pursuing the suit bears the burden of proof. This means they must create a preponderance of evidence that proves their claims. Typically, a lawyer will look for pieces of evidence such as:

  • Witness testimony
  • Police testimony on the accident
  • Pictures of the struck auto
  • Bills and diagnoses from doctors
  • Repair estimates from mechanics fixing the injured party's vehicle

A preponderance of evidence also means that the evidence creates an air-tight recounting of the incident with no holes or discrepancies. For example, if one witness remembers the accident slightly differently than another, their testimony may harm the case.

How Can You Help?

During the discovery phase of an auto accident lawsuit, the best way a client can help their lawyer is to mostly step back and let them do their thing. Creating problems with the lawyer by interfering with their research can cause unworkable situations that lead to resentments and even fights. A great lawsuit needs cooperation between the client and the lawyer, with each understanding their role.

That said, a client can also help out by discussing their story, getting the facts straight, and rehearsing what they want to say to the court. They should, naturally, never lie about the events. But making a mistake when discussing the accident could cause the judge to think a client is lying, potentially ruining all the hard work their lawyer has put in.

When it comes to the discovery stage, a good auto accident attorney knows how to find the evidence they need to win a case. If the evidence simply isn't there, then they can't find it. That is important to understand, as a lawyer can't make up evidence or lie to the judge without risking serious legal problems. For more information, contact local professionals like Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C.