The Discovery Process

Under the North Carolina Civil Practice Act, the first four-month period after the defendant answers is the discovery period of litigation. Attorneys often refer to this as the homework phase of the case. The discovery process allows all parties involved in the lawsuit to assert requests against other parties and force disclosure of information and documents. The four-month discovery period is typically extended by private agreement between the parties and will extend up to the actual trial date.

Because of the rarity of federal litigation in motor vehicle injury cases, I limit my discussion of the discovery rules to only those rules that apply in North Carolina’s district and superior courts. For details concerning the scope and rules of discovery in federal trials, see the full text of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure at

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