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Interrogatories – The Request for Further information in Personal Injury Cases

Ehline Law, the injury victim's Friend
Injury lawyer Michael Ehline of Ehline Law Firm.

Usually, people go about their daily lives, without ever thinking about how many aspects of the law work. It is only after an individual is injured that they become concerned. Then they want to know as much as they can about what is involved. After all, the process of filing an injury case and the unique elements that affect the outcome of the case are information intensive. The information provided here will help to educate the person interested in knowing more. Now this person will find out more about the process of collecting information and preparing a case.

Gathering the right information from the start can help in preparing, knowing what to expect with the legal process and choosing the right injury lawyer in particular. Some rules and regulations govern lawsuits. These rules are intended to provide both the plaintiff and defendant the capability to assemble valuable information.

There are specific tools used by attorneys to obtain relevant information during court cases. This can include personal injury case law, etc. One of these tools of discovery is the use of interrogatories. These get used by both the plaintiff and the defense in cases.

The discovery of information involving the other party in the case is done by using interrogatories, which can be useful. When the person or lawyer obtains the information necessary in a personal injury case, it can assist in the understanding of specific terms and timelines.


How Are Personal Injury Interrogatories Done?

In California personal injury cases, both the plaintiff and defense make a list of questions they send to the other side to have answered. This article covers Special Interrogatories, and Judicial Council approved Form Interrogatories. As opposed to asking for documents, these Form and “Special Interrogatories,” are typically mailed to opposing counsel, and seek to identify something, perhaps provide names addresses and phone numbers, birth dates, employment, etc.

  • Request For Admissions

Other types of informal discovery include handcrafted “Requests for Admissions,” asking the other party to admit or deny something like “ADMIT the medical bills are reasonable,” etc. And of course, there are also “Requests for Production of Documents and Things,” that can force a party to turn over real documents and things like DVD’s, for inspection and examination. These are all known as informal discovery.

  • Form Interrogatories

Judicial Council approved Form Interrogatories have boxes a party can check with certain questions. So the Court will typically want to know the answers too. Most of all, these are an excellent method to use to obtain basic info like birth dates, whether or not the other party has a liability insurance policy. That way we know if some kinds of coverage for the accident or mishap, etc. is available.


Sometimes Responses are “No Response At All”?

Some guidelines must be followed by the party that receives the interrogatories in providing the answers to the questions they received. Along with these guidelines, there is a time frame. So the answers must usually be returned within 30 days. The questions must be returned as written answers within the period given. The responses must also be verified, or they constitute “no response at all” (See Appleton v. Superior Court.)

The written answers to these questions are required to be true to the best of the individual’s knowledge. And the written content must have a written verification to this fact. As discussed, the questions in the interrogatories will usually be about the individual’s background, such as past injury claims, past medical histories.

Also, questions about work histories are often asked. Focusing on specific types of questions can help in the discovery of evidence. Some of this can be used while other kinds not permitted to be used in court.


What Other Information is Sought in Discovery?

The questions might involve how specific injuries occurred from the incident and potential witnesses. How interrogatories are conducted differs from one state to another, with each having their own rules and guidelines that must be followed. In all events, it is essential to retain a personal injury lawyer. Most of all, get one knowledgeable about the state the incident occurred in. That way they know how the state deals with the questions and answers for discovery.

When a standard set of interrogatories are used, and court approved, it then forces the other party to respond the questions. After all, it is considered by many judges to be mandatory to comply with the approved interrogatories. However, they are objectionable. So not every question has been held valid in every circumstance. So don’t just check every box, as you could be sanctioned for abusing the discovery process.


What Effect Interrogatories Do Answers Have in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The answers to the questions included in the interrogatories are crucial for each side. After all, it will determine the direction the lawyers will take on behalf of the plaintiff and in the name of the defendant. The answers are considered to be admissions. So these give the lawyer the capacity to read the answers in court out loud. Lawyers that are experienced will know that there is power using the admissions from the interrogatories in court.

During the entire case, the answers to the questions can be utilized. So this can add to the evidence of discoveries that are made throughout the case in court. If the interrogatories are not answered within the specified amount of time, the side that does not receive them can make a motion for “sanctions.” The court can treat this is as a serious as contempt of court. But understanding how the process of a personal injury case works, does not make an individual an expert.

Nor should they feel they do not need to retain an attorney for their case. In fact, they should hire someone that specializes in personal injury law. What discovery can do, is to make the person educated in what to expect. And it may help the client in working with their lawyer. Of course, this will be helpful to their case, so they are prepared.

Ehline Law Firm personal injury lawyers have compiled this information to educate the public. And more information can be found on the law firm’s website and blog.


Michael Ehline - PI Law Tutorials

Michael Ehline is a highly trained personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, CA. He writes educational articles to help injured consumers.

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