You legally do not need a lawyer to fill out a plaintiff’s list of exhibits, because you are not required to have a lawyer to file and execute a lawsuit in civil court. But you have a substantially higher chance of succeeding in your case with an attorney representing you.
The legal process is complex and has many potential pitfalls for a person to navigate on their own with any reasonable chance of a positive outcome. Even the best, most highly trained attorneys in the world almost never serve as their own lawyer. If you are in the process of filing a lawsuit against a person or business, or are considering doing so, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney first.
What Is a Plaintiff’s List of Exhibits?
Before a trial begins, each side, the plaintiff and the defendant, is required to disclose the evidence they plan to present to the court in support of their claim. Each piece of evidence is an exhibit. The list of pieces of evidence presented is an “exhibit list.”
State Laws on Disclosing Exhibits Vary
The reason both parties must disclose exhibits is so that the other side can review them and prepare appropriate responses for each. If a plaintiff or defendant fails to disclose an exhibit within a certain number of days of the trial—the number varies by state—the exhibit is normally inadmissible.
As appropriate, plaintiffs and defendants may add exhibits to their original list, including after the trial has begun. These additions are supplements.
A plaintiff’s list of exhibits, then, is simply a catalog of evidence that the plaintiff plans to use at trial to back up their claim that the defendant is culpable for some act.
What Items Might Appear on a Plaintiff’s List of Exhibits?
Many items could potentially appear on your plaintiff’s list of exhibits. They can vary a great deal based on the nature of the case and the accusations you are making against the defendant.
If you are suing over a car accident your list of exhibits will look different over other areas of the law. A list of exhibits for a car accident case might include:
- Police reports
- Pictures of your car
- Statements from bystanders who witnessed the accident
- Cell phone records showing that the defendant was distracted when they caused the accident.
As a general rule, the more evidence you can show the court in support of your claims—within reason, as it needs to be relevant and back up your statements—the stronger your case will be. A robust plaintiff’s list of exhibits, then, is often a critical component of a successful lawsuit.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me File a Plaintiff’s List of Exhibits?
When it comes to filing your plaintiff’s list of exhibits, a lawyer can help in several ways. First, and perhaps most important, a knowledgeable attorney can determine exactly what pieces of evidence you need to present at trial. You should never underestimate the importance of gathering the right evidence for your case.
Even the order in which you present this evidence can be pivotal to the outcome of your case. To get it right, you need a lawyer who focuses on cases like yours and who has a track record of fighting and winning them.
A Lawyer Can Minimize Errors
A lawyer can also help you with all the paperwork and minutiae that goes along with filing a lawsuit. Though the process might sound simple—gather your evidence, write it all out in a list, and submit it to the court by a certain date—it rarely is.
Judges can be very picky about how you submit your documents to the court. If you make a mistake, leave something out, or get confused about a deadline it may delay your trial. The worst-case scenario is it can sink it. A lawyer can help you avoid falling prey to these pitfalls.
To Schedule a Free Consultation With an Attorney to Discuss Your Case, Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 1-865-546-1111
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we fight aggressively for the rights of our clients. No matter what issue you are facing, we want to help. To schedule a free consultation to meet with one of our team members, call us today at 1-865-546-1111.