What is Discovery?

Discovery” is an important part of many personal injury cases. It refers to a phase of litigation during which lawyers unravel your accident, piece together evidence, and discover the truth. You should understand the ins and outs of discovery for your case.

An experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer can guide you through the discovery process and advocate for your best interests.

What Does “Discovery” Mean?

What Does “Discovery” Mean?

“Discovery” is a legal term that refers to pre-trial investigation. During this phase of litigation, each party investigates the facts of the case. This often involves obtaining evidence from the other parties. While this may be done informally, it is often done through formal procedures.

Discovery plays an important part in allowing parties to know what evidence may be presented at trial. It also helps to clarify the issues in dispute. This can aid in negotiations and lead a case to settle without trial. It further ensures that cases proceed with transparency and fairness.

What Discovery Methods Are Used in Illinois Personal Injury Cases?

Lawyers use different discovery methods to get information from opposing parties. In Illinois, personal injury lawyers may use a combination of the following:


Interrogatories are written questions sent between the parties. In personal injury cases, they often ask about the incident, injuries, and other facts. For example, they may ask you to list medical providers who treated you after an accident or any witnesses. Interrogatories are a tool that lays a foundation for further investigation.


Depositions are oral testimonies taken under oath. They may be conducted at a law office, and they are often recorded. During a deposition, a lawyer will ask questions to parties, witnesses, or experts. Depositions play an important role in creating narratives of an accident. Your lawyer will sift through deposition testimony to identify inconsistencies and confirm facts.

Requests for Production

Requests for Production require opposing parties to produce tangible evidence. This can include documents, photographic evidence, medical reports, or other items related to the accident. For example, if you are a plaintiff in a personal injury case, the defendant may request copies of your medical records to confirm your injuries.

Requests for Admissions

Requests for Admissions are targeted statements that the opposing party must affirm or deny. They help identify the facts in dispute. This helps streamline the issues that must be resolved at trial.

What Information Is Subject To Discovery in a Personal Injury Case?

Discovery allows parties to obtain lots of information. Generally, a party may obtain full disclosure regarding any matter relevant to the pending action, except as otherwise provided in the Illinois Court Rules. However, not all discovered information may necessarily be used at trial.

What Rules Control Discovery in Illinois?

Formal rules govern the discovery process. These vary based on jurisdiction and the type of court. For example, Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213 describes Illinois state rules for using interrogatories.

Federal and state rules may also impose penalties when parties fail to comply with discovery requests or attempt to hide evidence. Courts can impose fines and sanctions or even dismiss a case.

Why Is Discovery Important in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Discovery might be an important part of your personal injury case. Your lawyer will use the discovery process to help:

Determine Liability

Determining liability – or proving negligence – is likely the crux of your personal injury case. A lawyer will use interrogatories, requests for documents, and depositions to learn about the facts leading up to the accident. 

Certain facts may reveal a party’s liability. For example, discovery may reveal that a party was speeding, texting while driving, or driving under the influence.

Assess Damages

Damages often equal compensation. Discovery allows lawyers to review and analyze evidence about accident-related economic damages. Important evidence includes medical reports, bills, and other records. Depositions of experts, such as doctors, may also be used to confirm the extent of your injuries, your prognosis, and your non-economic damages, such as reduced quality of life.

Negotiate and Reach a Settlement

Information is power. Information learned during discovery often pushes parties to negotiate resolutions to cases before trial. Presenting a substantiated case with facts from discovery can help avoid the need for protracted courtroom battles.

An Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Can Guide You Through the Discovery Process

The discovery process is an essential part of many personal injury cases. If your case enters litigation, discovery is one of the most helpful phases for learning the facts before trial. Your Illinois personal injury attorney will use various tools to learn information that can help establish liability and the extent of your injuries. They will be bound by formal court rules along the way. Contact our Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys today, call (312) 726-1616, and let us help you with your case.