What is the discovery phase of a car accident lawsuit?

In the discovery phase, you have the chance to find out the strengths and weaknesses of your case and what evidence the other side has. Additionally, during this period, you can use the so-called means of discovery, such as requests for production of documents, requests for admissions, and depositions. Based on what happens during the discovery phase, you can decide whether to settle the case or go to trial.

You’ve formally filed a lawsuit against the party at fault, and the court became involved. You provided a written complaint describing:

  • How the accident happened
  • Why the defendant was negligent
  • The damages that you suffered

After the defendants filed their answer with the court in response to your complaint, that's when you move into the discovery phase or the pretrial investigation process. When you’ve been injured in a car crash, financial restitution may be the only way for you to recover from your injuries fully.

In the early stages of your car accident claim, you and your attorney investigated the crash and collected documents that support your allegations against the negligent driver or entity responsible for the collision. In an attempt to resolve your case without a lawsuit, your attorney negotiated with insurance adjusters. However, the insurance companies didn't offer a fair settlement, and your claim is progressing to a lawsuit.

But before your case is heard in court, you and the defendant both have the chance to discover or learn what evidence the other side has. Discovery is precisely the essential and lengthy formal process, where you and the other parties to the lawsuit share with each other:

  • Documents
  • Evidence
  • Other information

How the discovery phase works

During discovery, you gather the evidence you'll need to submit at trial to prove your case or defend against the other side’s claims:

  • The Police report
  • Photos from the scene of the crash
  • Witness testimony
  • Medical files and expenses
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Documents that help establish lost income
  • Insurance policies
  • Other relevant records

The discovery stage is vital because it allows you to:

  • Prepare for trial
  • Explore the strengths and weaknesses in the case
  • Evaluate settlement
  • Gather the information you need to file motions

Since the 1940s, the federal court system has mandated disclosing all relevant facts and documents between parties before trial. This disclosure is accomplished in the discovery phase through:

  • Request for production of documents: Your attorney will ask questions and request documents, information, and records from the opposing lawyers, who will do the same in return. The defendants and insurance company request from your lawyer information about what happened to you. You and your lawyer have to provide the other side's lawyers with these documents that are very important to your claim.
  • Interrogatories: You, and the other side as well, may have to answer a written series of questions from each other about the parties and their defenses and claims.
  • Request for admissions: This can be used by your lawyer to zero in on the disputed facts of a case by asking the other party to admit certain facts.
  • Subpoenas: An attorney may need to issue a subpoena that orders businesses or other organizations to provide documents.
  • Depositions: These are Q & A sessions, out-of-court statements between an attorney and the person deposed, who must answer under oath in front of a court reporter.
  • Independent medical examination: The insurance company’s attorney may ask you to submit to an independent medical exam.

That's why during the discovery phase, you're going to want additional information. You're going to want to gather evidence that is admissible in court so that you can prove your case.

How can The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary help you?

During the discovery phase, the opposing counsel will do everything in their power to challenge your story and win the case. Using discovery tools, they also have the chance to see what documents and evidence you have that may help or hurt the case and to talk to you and the witnesses.

You should never take the discovery process lightly, especially if:

  • Your medical bills are thousands of dollars
  • You've missed work due to your injuries
  • You have a permanent injury

That's why working with an attorney that has extensive experience in car accidents and is available all the time to answer your questions can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.

With the right legal team, you can focus on your health and improve your chances of recovering the full compensation that you deserve. In a free, confidential car accident consultation, our experienced car accident attorney will share with you precisely if and how you can secure the recovery you need to move forward.

Ready for a confidential, free evaluation of your car accident case? Contact our Miami law office today.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.