Many states have a procedure sometimes known as a Request for Admission, where if formally asked about some fact(s), a party can admit the truth of it. The purpose is to save time, although to an outsider, it may look like a complete waste of time.
Whenever a party wishes to request something from the judge during the case, such as a clarification or limitation, they can file a motion in accordance with the rules specified in their state’s civil procedure statutes. This is the way of getting the judge to take notice of the problem, and asking for a judicial ruling.
Interrogatories are some of the most basic tools used to find out information from another party. State and federal law usually set the number of interrogatories that can be asked and for which answers are required.
Hearings are meetings with the judge, usually in open court and most often "on the record," which means a recording is made to avoid disputes. Many hearings are made under oath. Usually hearings occur on motion made by one party or another, but sometimes the judge can summon both parties to a hearing in an effort to resolve some problem regarding the case.
One of the least understood elements of a case, especially to a Plaintiff, are motions that appear to never let the Plaintiff "tell his case to a jury" and result in the case being dismissed without a trial. Understanding these can help to decide whether to become involved in a lawsuit in the first place.