North Carolina Appellate Court Denies Interlocutory Appeal of Discovery Orders in Car Accident Case

There are a variety of rules that must be followed in a civil case to ensure that your rights are protected and to secure the compensation that you deserve after you are injured in a car accident. Some examples include identifying the witnesses whom you intend to call at trial, having key evidence admitted into the record, and filing certain documents before time limits expire. It can be difficult to navigate these rules, which is why retaining a knowledgeable North Carolina car accident lawyer can relieve a lot of the stress associated with bringing a personal injury claim.

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case in which the parties disputed whether one of the parties could seek an appeal during the litigation before a final decision was rendered. The plaintiff operated a city bus when a vehicle struck the bus from the rear. The plaintiff was injured as a result of the crash and filed a claim against the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended the bus, alleging that the driver operated the vehicle negligently.

During the discovery phase, in which the parties obtain evidence from each other, the defendant filed a motion to compel the plaintiff to provide more thorough responses to some of the defendant’s discovery requests. The trial court granted the motion and issued an order stating that the plaintiff must provide more specific information about her health care providers and injuries before the accident, any mental disabilities that she suffered, and more information about her income and hours worked after the accident.

The defendant later filed another motion, seeking more thorough discovery responses from the plaintiff, as well as a motion seeking monetary penalties (sanctions) against the plaintiff. The court granted the motion after finding that the plaintiff did not comply with the first order. The plaintiff filed an appeal, challenging the discovery order on several grounds. The appellate court dismissed the appeal, concluding that it was not a matter that could be reviewed in the middle of the litigation, which is known as an interlocutory appeal. North Carolina law specifies that there are only a few instances in which an interlocutory appeal can be heard. The first is when the court issues a final judgment about some aspect of the claims that leaves additional claims for further litigation. The second is when the order would deprive the person bringing the appeal of a substantial right that would be jeopardized without immediate review.

Before an appellate court will review your mid-litigation appeal, it must determine whether you have satisfied one of these two conditions. Since the plaintiff’s appeal was neither a final resolution of a claim nor something that affected a substantial right, the court denied her appeal.

If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident and believe that you may be entitled to compensation, contact Attorney Jason M. Burton at Burton Law Firm today to start learning about your legal rights. He can guide you through the entire legal process while ensuring that you comply with applicable rules and that you seek the full amount of compensation that you are owed. To set up your free and confidential consultation, call today at 1-833-623-0042 or contact us online.