Understanding the Discovery Process in an Automobile Accident Case

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In practically all civil suits, the fact finding process, also known as the discovery process, is a vital time in the case where both parties can gather evidence and further support their own case. Once the complaint has been filed, and the case has officially begun, parties can obtain further information through a variety of methods approved by courts during the discovery process. While some of these methods might be familiar to most people, there are also lesser known approved methods of obtaining information in the discovery process.


One of the ways a party can obtain information from a person is through a deposition. A deposition is a type of interview in which one party is allowed to ask questions of a witness outside of court. Depositions are recorded, typically by stenographers, and are given under oath. While the attorney who scheduled the deposition will be asking all of the questions, opposing counsel will generally be present at the deposition in order to object to any questions or procedures that are improper.


Whereas depositions involve a verbal interview, interrogatories involve a written interview. Interrogatories are written questions that opposing parties must answer under oath. While parties are limited by law in how many interrogatories they are allowed to serve on a party, they do have an advantage of being affordable ways to obtain information through the discovery process. Unfortunately, one downside of interrogatories is that they have the potential of yielding little to no detailed information.

Document Requests

As with any other matter, documents can play a large role in determining the outcome of a case. Whether it’s proving that a person did not suffer from such injuries or finding holes in the opposing party’s story, the production of documents can go a long way to help support or tear down a case. A party can request a variety of documents from an opposing party, which can include:

  • medical bills;
  • automotive payments;
  • bank statements;
  • medical records;
  • proof of income; and
  • car repair receipts.

While these requests will generally be granted, there are some types of documents, such as attorney work product, that are protected under the law, and can be withheld from such requests.

Independent Medical Exams

Finally, there is the independent medical exam. While parties may have seen doctors or physicians for any injuries sustained in the accident, these types of records may be protected under the doctrine of doctor-patient confidentiality, and might be inadmissible in court. That being said, an independent medical exam has the benefit of providing a current, up-to-date medical exam that can be admissible in court in order to show that certain injuries were sustained. Typically, however, these independent medical exams will be requested by the defense, and will be made to attack the plaintiff’s claim that there were injuries, or that injuries were caused by an accident.

Call an Attorney

The legal process can be a long and winding one, and can present many issues for people who aren’t familiar with it. Fortunately, you do not have to go through it alone. If you are looking for a talented South Carolina attorney, contact the David Aylor Law Offices for a free case evaluation.

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