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What Are Interrogatories in a Personal Injury Case?

By Butler Prather LLP on February 17, 2021

Any time a person sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, they are likely entitled to various types of compensation. This can include coverage of their medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more. Most personal injury cases are settled by insurance carriers before a trial is necessary. However, when a trial is necessary, both sides will have to ask questions of the other side. In order for each side to get their questions answered by the opposition, they will usually send a list of questions, or interrogatories. Here, we want to discuss what interrogatories are, what types of questions are asked, and how the responses work.

Why are interrogatories necessary?

Interrogatories come into play during the “discovery phase” of a personal injury. This is basically the evidence-gathering portion of the process where both sides are able to obtain the evidence the other has obtained. This gives both the plaintiff and the defendant a chance to review the evidence and weigh their best options moving forward. In some cases, the discovery process leads one side to accept a settlement or the other side to make a larger settlement offer in an effort to avoid going to trial.

Interrogatories help ensure that the case is fair for all parties involved. These questions help establish what facts are currently in dispute as well as what facts are not disputed at all.

What kind of questions do interrogatories ask?

Interrogatories are generally going to be open-ended questions that one side asks the other. These questions will be posed to the other side an effort to get them to describe the facts or claims they have made about the case. Interrogatories are designed so that the other side will give as much detail and description as possible about the incident and the injuries in question. Sometimes, interrogatories will not even use a question format. They may simply be a list of topics that the other side is to respond to.

Some common examples of interrogatories after an injury incident could include the following:

  • Did you consume any drugs, alcohol, or medication of any kind during the 12 hours proceeding the accident? If so, list the names of each substance that you consumed, the amount of each substance, the time you consumed the substance, and where you obtained the substance.
  • What are the names of any individual who has given a signed statement related to the accident? Provide their home address and contact information, if known. Please provide a copy of each signed statement.
  • Describe exactly what the other driver (the defendant) should have done that would have prevented the incident and the injury from occurring.

These are only three examples of what an interrogatory question may look like. In general, an interrogatory will require detailed and meticulous answers from the party being asked the question. Because of this level of detail, an interrogatory can seem intimidating. It is crucial for any injury victim to work with a skilled lawyer who can help them through this process. For a personal injury attorney, and interrogatories will be par for the course, something they deal with on a regular basis.

Posted in: Personal Injury

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