What Are Interrogatories in a Personal Injury Case?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Sep 02, 2021 in Personal Injury
One of the first steps in the process of discovery after a lawsuit has been filed is the interrogatories. These are written questions that must be answered by the opposing parties involved in the case. Generally, interrogatories should be answered under the advice of a lawyer, as they are considered official records for the lawsuit and your answers may be used for future reference in the case.
Our personal injury attorneys in South Bend are prepared to help you through the entire legal process. We can discuss your claim during a free consultation to see what legal options may be available to you.
Below, we discuss some of the things you should know about interrogatories during the discovery process.
What Can Be Asked in Interrogatories?
Indiana’s rules for discovery follow federal guidelines in that each side may only ask up to 25 interrogatory questions. The types of questions asked during this process are general in nature and tend to be about the accident and your injuries.
For example, injury victims are often asked for the following information:
- Home address
- Dates of birth
- Place of employment
- Details about the car accident
- Financial information
- Information about treating doctors
- Details about the injuries you/your passengers suffered
The purpose of interrogatories is for each side to get a better understanding of the other side’s version of the situation and the evidence to support those facts.
While interrogatory questions may ask for a lot of detailed information, there are some limitations on what can be asked. For example, the opposing party may not ask for privileged information in an interrogatory. Privileged information may include things like private discussions between you and your attorney or any information that may get you into legal trouble.
For a better idea of what types of questions are asked during the interrogatory phase of a case, you should speak to a licensed attorney.
Can You Refuse to Answer an Interrogatory?
In addition to the limitations on what can and cannot be asked during interrogatories, you have the legal right to object to answering a question. However, that objection must meet a legal threshold as to why you are refusing to answer. For example, if the opposing party asks for financial records without a specified date range, your attorney may legally object by arguing that the question is too broad.
Although you have the right to object, the opposing party also has the right to request a judge to compel, or force, an answer.
How Long Do I Have to Answer?
Once the interrogatories are sent out to a party involved in a lawsuit, that person or organization has 30 days to respond. Remember that each question must be answered or objected to on a legal basis.
Failure to respond to an interrogatory within the specified time may result in your case being dismissed by a judge, so it is extremely important to meet the deadline.
Are Interrogatories Answered Under Oath?
Once a lawsuit is filed and discovery begins, every action taken afterward is considered part of the official record. This means that, yes, answers to interrogatories are done under oath.
If you lie to an interrogatory or knowingly omit information, you may find yourself in legal trouble, as you could be charged with perjury.
Due to the serious nature of responding to interrogatories, it would be in your best interest to have someone on your side who may advise you on how to answer some of the most difficult questions thrown at you. Remember that the lawyer representing the liable party will do everything in his or her power to get you to say something that will hurt your case.
We Are Prepared to Help. Call Us Today
If you are unsure of how to go about filing a claim or simply need legal advice on how to proceed, you should strongly consider calling us today.
Our attorneys have decades of experience helping injury victims like you recover the compensation they need for medical bills, lost wages and other damages after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
We do not charge you anything up front and only get paid if we win.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation: (844) 678-1800