What are Interrogatories?

Interrogatories are used as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit. They’re often used during car accidents, slip-and-fall cases or worker’s compensation cases. They help to narrow down the questions that will need to be asked at a trial since they’ll determine the facts of the case.

The questions that are asked might be simple ones regarding the accident like the date it occurred or the car you were driving during the accident. Other questions could be more complex regarding the direction the person was traveling or details you might not remember.

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When you’re sent questions, they come from the other lawyer, and that lawyer can only ask a certain amount of questions. Some will be specific to your case while others are form questions that are asked in every case. There’s a limit of 25 questions in a federal case unless the court has allowed more. The amount of questions allowed in state cases varies depending on the state.

Details of the Questions

While they’re called questions, they might not always be in question form. Some lawyers will leave the wording of the question open for a lengthy answer. It’s important that you give the questions or demands truthful answers. You’re considered to be under oath when you are answering the questions, but the questions are not filed with the court. They’re used by the other party’s attorney. When you’re answering the questions, you’ll want to sit down and answer them immediately. Sketch out your answers and meet with your lawyer to polish your response.

Types of Discovery Questions

The questions can be grouped into a few different types. For example, one group of questions might be trying to determine your liability in the case, and another group of questions could be figuring out damages. The other questions are general like those asking to explain who you are in relation to the case, and the other party trying to learn something bad about you like whether you were using Snapchat while driving.

Requests for Documents

In a case, this is also called a request for production of documents. It often accompanies the questions that the other party will ask before the case goes to trial. It’s part of the discovery process since they gather information regarding the case. When presented with these documents, they must be followed. You have to produce all the papers that are required in the request and answer all the questions from the other party. In some cases, you might have your lawyer object to the questions or requests depending on the case.

When it comes to the discovery process and interrogatories, you’re required to answer all the questions from the other lawyer as well as produce the documents they want. If you have an objection to the question or request, you can have your lawyer file a formal complaint with the court. Most of the time, the other lawyer is within the scope of acceptable questions, and you should answer them. Talk to your lawyer if you’re unsure about an answer or want clarification of the question. They can be overly broad or complex and confusing.