When you are injured in a car accident and your case cannot be settled out of court, your lawyer and the representative for the at-fault driver will prepare your case for court in several ways. One of the tools they use is called an interrogatory. Interrogatories for a car accident claim are an exchange of up to 40 written questions answered under oath.
The at-fault party’s representative may use them to question you, and your lawyer may use them to gather information as well. When these questions are asked in person and under oath, this process is called discovery. Interrogatories are sometimes called first discovery and allow your lawyer to get important information supporting your right to recover damages.
What Questions Are Usually Part of Interrogatories?
Each side uses interrogatories to gain insight into the case and understand what led to the accident and where the fault lies. Interrogatory questions also look for the effects and costs of the accident.
You might be asked questions about:
- Your car accident injuries
- Your prescribed treatment
- Your medical history
- Your mental health
- Your loss of income
- Your employment history
- Contact with witnesses
- Your marital status
- Your driving history
- Your criminal history
- Your alcohol consumption
You might also be asked about your history of car accidents and your activities in in the days immediately preceding the accident. The car accident lawyer handling your case will help you understand each question you are asked and prepare an appropriate answer.
Interrogatories Go Both Ways
Just as the other party in your potential car accident lawsuit has the right to pose 40 questions to you in the form of interrogatories, you are entitled to ask 40 questions of your own.
Your lawyer will help you compose your list of questions and explain the strategic reasoning behind each question you pose. The at-fault driver must respond to the questions your side asks in a timely fashion. The answers you receive will help you understand their point of view regarding the accident and can help strengthen your case for financial compensation.
How Else Can My Lawyer Help With Interrogatories?
Interrogatories can be overwhelming. Your lawyer will help you understand the legal parameters that affect you and your case, overall. They will also:
- Assess the feasibility of your case
- Handle all case-related communication
- Determine an accurate case value
- Prepare and file your lawsuit in court
- Comply with the statute of limitations
Wherever possible, your lawyer will negotiate a monetary settlement, allowing you to avoid the time and uncertainty of a trial. A settlement agreement can be reached at any point until a jury returns a verdict in your case. If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will represent you in court and help you keep fighting for the compensation you are entitled to recover.
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Are Interrogatories Necessary in a Car Accident Case?
Your lawyer was not present at the time your accident occurred. Neither was the representative for the at-fault driver. Each side uses interrogatories to understand the accident and its aftermath.
Interrogatories are also designed to let each party understand your role in the accident and whether you contributed to its cause. The representative for the at-fault driver will also try to understand the financial impact of the accident. For example, they may ask about your employment history to determine your typical work habits and the value of your lost wages.
How Are Interrogatories Different From Depositions?
You have a limited time — generally 30 days — to respond to and return interrogatories. A deposition is different because it is:
- An in-person interview
- You will be sworn in
- A court reporter will be present
- You might be videotaped
In addition to these differences, the answers you give in a deposition may be used in court. Just as they assist you with written interrogatories, your lawyer will accompany you to your deposition. They may help you prepare for the deposition and the questions you are likely to be asked.
What Other Evidence Will I Need to Prove My Case?
Interrogatories are only one part of the case file documents that make up a comprehensive evidence file. Additional evidence your attorney will help you gather includes:
- Medical records and bills
- Medication lists
- Written prognosis
- Salary history records
- Car accident report
- Therapy and rehab records
- Accident scene photos
- Photos of your injuries
- Witness statements
The lawyer handling your case will gather these documents and evidence for you. They will also make sure it is organized before presenting it to the at-fault party and their insurance company as part of your comprehensive evidence file.
Contact Our Case Review Team
Are you or someone you love seeking financial compensation after a car accident? Our car accident attorney at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers will explain what interrogatories are and how they affect your car accident claim. Contact one of our team members for a free case review and start building your case for compensation today.