What is an Interrogatory?
Personal injury lawsuits are, by design, very complicated legal matters with a lot at stake. Even before you end up before a judge, negotiations with insurance companies and other third parties can leave your head spinning. Part of this process will involve interrogatories – important legal requests from the other party in your case. Thankfully, hiring a personal injury attorney will gain you the assistance you need from start to finish and increase your chances of a successful suit. Today, we will discuss what interrogatories are, why they matter, and why an experienced Sarasota personal injury attorney can make all the difference.
What Is An Interrogatory?
Despite being related to the word ‘interrogation’ – that many people hear as aggressive and accusatory – interrogatories are formal written questions from one party to another that are commonplace in lawsuits. As opposed to a combative cross-examination on the witness stand, an interrogatory simply aims to identify one side’s facts of the case.
Interrogatories are usually written and mailed from one party to another, and the receiving party has a fixed amount of time to respond with truthful answers. Despite not taking place in a courtroom, any responses you write down are considered sworn statements under oath, meaning you can’t knowingly lie or conceal information to try and get an edge in your case.
However, there is no obligation to give up any information that is not requested. If the opposing party inquires about your car insurance at the time of a car accident, there is no expectation that you also tell them about the status of your license or registration unless they inquire in a separate, valid question.
Questions on Interrogatories
Interrogatories do not give one side free rein to ask any and all questions; they can only ask questions pertinent to the case. Unlike the average person not well versed in civil litigation, personal injury attorneys can help determine which questions are worth objecting to. Some common reasons for objections to questions include:
- Answers would divulge privileged information
- The question is irrelevant to the case
- There are too many questions
- Finding the information in order to answer the questions is too expensive, time-consuming, or burdensome
- The questions are vague or broad
- The questions are not based on facts at issue
- The other party is accusatory or threatening in their wording
On the other hand, some common questions found in an interrogatory may include the following:
- Your personal identifying information
- Who or what you specifically claim injured you
- Questions about witnesses – their intentions, their expertise, and their statements
- Information regarding insurance, medical bills, and other costs
Both sides of a lawsuit have the right to learn more about the case and the other side’s position through discovery, and interrogatories provide one way to communicate basic information. However, most of the negotiation, back-and-forth, and eventual battle in court that will determine your payout and compensation is far removed from a simple list of questions. The answers to interrogatories, if not done correctly, can, however, greatly affect the case outcome no matter what stage of litigation you are in.
If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit, we highly recommend hiring a personal injury attorney with direct experience representing clients, negotiating fair settlements, and winning in court if needed.
The personal injury attorneys at Hale Law have the experience, skill, and tenacity you need to achieve the settlement you deserve. We have locations all across Florida and are dedicated to helping our clients through some of the most challenging times of their life. Call us today for a free consultation at no financial risk.