What Are Interrogatories in a Personal Injury Case?

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the actions of another individual or entity, there is a chance that you will be able to recover compensation for your losses. Often, this will mean that you receive compensation through an insurance settlement. However, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. When this happens, you and your attorney will likely have to send interrogatories to the other party in the case (the defendant). Here, we want to define “interrogatories” and discuss how they are used during the personal injury lawsuit process.

What are interrogatories?

Interrogatories are used during a particular part of the personal injury process called the “discovery phase.” This is the time frame of the personal injury lawsuit where both sides work diligently to gather evidence and obtain all of the information they need to make their case. During the discovery phase, both parties are allowed to request the evidence that the other side has, and they will often want to ask questions of the other party involved. These questions are called interrogatories.

It can be slightly misleading to define interrogatories as questions. Yes, sometimes interrogatories are indeed questions asked of the other party. However, interrogatories may also simply be a list of topics that the other side is expected to respond to. Regardless of how interrogatories are presented, these are an attempt from both sides to ascertain pertinent information that they may need for the case.

What types of questions are asked through interrogatories?

Interrogatories are usually going to be fairly open-ended questions. They are written in ways so that the other side will give as much detail and description as possible about the incident and the injuries in question. No two personal injury cases are exactly alike, and the interrogatories will be crafted towards each particular situation.

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

  • Please list the names of any individuals who have given a signed statement related to this incident. Please provide their names, home addresses, and contact information (if known). Please also provide a copy of each signed statement.
  • Did you consume any alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication of any kind during the 12 hours preceding the incident? If yes, list the names of each substance that you consumed, the amount of each substance consumed, and the time you consumed the substance. Please also list where you obtained the substance(s) in question.
  • Please describe what actions the other driver(s) should have taken that would have prevented the incident and the injuries from occurring.

Of course, these are only three examples of what could be many questions asked during the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit. In general, interrogatories will require meticulous and detailed answers from the party being asked the question. Because of the types of responses needed in these situations, interrogatories can seem intimidating. That is why we strongly recommend that any person going through the personal injury lawsuit process work with a skilled Oregon personal injury lawyer who can provide assistance. Personal injury attorneys are not going to be intimidated by interrogatories. This is something that they handle each day.