Interrogatories are the questions which one party asks the other during a trial, in the written form. In this guide, we have briefly answered some of the frequently asked questions
about Interrogatories. With this information, you will be able to prepare better for your personal injury case interrogatories.
When do I need to worry about interrogatories?
Interrogatories come into play as soon as the two parties engage in ‘Discovery Process.’ This process starts when one party files the lawsuit and the other one answers it. During this process, there is an exchange of facts and information among both the parties. Interrogatories and depositions also take place during this phase. Interrogatories move between both sides without being filed with the court.
Number of Interrogatories I will be Asked?
There are no limitations on the number of interrogatories which one party can ask the other during the injury case. Therefore, you should consult the civil procedure of the state you’re living in, for the purpose. However, for the federal courts, you cannot ask more than 25 interrogatories.
The time I have to respond to Interrogatories?
The federal courts need you to answer to interrogatories within a span of mere 30 days. Most of the states have adopted the 30-day duration while many have different time limits within which you can respond to the questions of the other party.
When you have answered the questions, you need to make an oath regarding the truthfulness of the answers. In some states, however, you sign the answers in the presence of a notary public.
What is the Proper Way to Write Interrogatories in an Injury Case?
The questions asked in interrogatories should follow a typical form. There should be no questions marks in the statements asked. For instance, you cannot ask “Do you have security staff?” but instead you should ask, “State if you have employed security staff and described their position details as well.”
It is better to use specific interrogatories based on the type you seek rather than asking general questions in each injury case. For instance, in a slip and fall interrogatories, you should ask about causes which led to injury along with questions on the negligence of the defendant. One of your interrogatories could be like, “Enlist the number of employees you have in your store, their duties on the date of the incident.” This will show that the place where slip accident occurred didn’t have enough employees to cater for spilled oil which led to the injury.
Being a Defendant, can I send Interrogatories to Plaintiff?
The answer to this question is a definite YES. Being a defendant you can also send a draft of the interrogatories to the plaintiff regarding the accident, following the same set of rules and regulations. For example, in a slip and fall case (as discussed above) the store, where the accident occurred, can send a set of questions to the person who slipped. For instance, “State if you have been visiting a medical doctor or a chiropractor over the past four years regarding your back pain.” This question will bring forth the fact if the plaintiff had already been suffering from a back issue. Thus, the liability of the store will be reduced.
Can I levy any Objections against the Interrogatories put my way?
Yes, you can object the questions which the opposite party is asking you. You can lay an objection that the questions you are being asked are too broad to be compiled in answers, are confusing, and are asking for invalid evidence. With these questions, your liability towards the questions will be reduced. However, there should be a genuine reason for objection as far as interrogatories are concerned.
Can the Response be compelled on the Party laying Objections to the Questions?
You have the right to file a motion, forcing the other party to answer the questions in the interrogatories. You can do this if the other party is taking a lot more time in responding to the questions than what is prescribed by law in your state. Moreover, you can file this motion of response if the other party is levying inappropriate objections.
It is advisable to reach out to the other party before filing the motion in the court. Inform them that you’re considering to go to court for the purpose. If they agree to answer your interrogatories, then give them some time otherwise, you should take the matter to court.
Once the motion is filed in the court, then a judge will review the interrogatories and the objections laid by the other party. If the objections are found be valid, then the other party will not need to answer your questions. However, if the objections put on by the opponents are invalid, then they can be held for contempt of court.
Can I request certain documents from the opponents along with Interrogatories?
There are injury cases where you will need some specific documents from the defendant to support your cause. You can request the production of records so that you can strengthen your case while the opponent party can also ask you to produce some documents which could prove beneficial during the hearing of the case.
It is worth mentioning here that there aren’t any limitations on the number of records you can request. You can ask for as many documents as you need, unlike the interrogatories which cannot exceed more than 25 in most of the states. You shouldn’t be asking for documents from the other party, which have no links with the injury case whatsoever.
You don’t need documents as evidence from the other party in every injury case. However, it is better to serve both documentation requests and interrogatories so you can prepare in the best possible way. Hiring a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer is paramount to get your case settled. Follow our blog for more information