Answers to Interrogatories
What are Interrogatories and Answers to Interrogatories?
In a New Jersey personal injury case, the defendant’s lawyer can send your lawyer a series of written questions for you to answer. Those written questions are called Interrogatories. You must then provide written answers to those questions. Those written answers are called Answers to Interrogatories.
Of course, your attorney can also send written questions to the defendant’s lawyer that the defendant must answer.
What questions will they ask?
The New Jersey Rules of Court set out those questions and they can be found at number II of the appendices to the New Jersey Rules of Court.
The answers to those questions are called Answers to Uniform Interrogatories.
The lawyer can also ask ten (10) ten questions that are not included in the questions listed by the Rules of Court. Those questions might be specific to the accident and/or the injury.
The answers to those questions are called Answers to Supplemental Interrogatories.
Why do these questions matter?
I hereby certify that the foregoing answers to interrogatories are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment.
The person who provides the Answers to Interrogatories must sign and date that statement. If the case goes to trial and a party to the lawsuit says something to the jury that is different from the Answers to Interrogatories, a lawyer can show the jury that the party cannot be trusted to tell the truth.
But what if these questions include legal things that I cannot answer?
You will need your lawyer’s help to complete the Answers to Interrogatories. Many questions will include questions that you cannot answer without your lawyer’s help.
What is the purpose of Answers to Interrogatories?
Answers to Interrogatories are used by lawyers to gather the information that the lawyers need to understand how the injury happened and how the injury impacts the life of the injured person.
Who needs to provide Answers to Interrogatories?
Only parties to the lawsuit need to provide Answers to Interrogatories. Non-parties such as witnesses and treating doctors do not provide them.
How do you get information from somebody who is not a party?
New Jersey lawyers can serve a subpoena on a non-party in New Jersey. The subpoena can be served to get document information (Subpoena Duces Tecum) or to take the oral deposition of the non-party (Subpoena Ad Testificandum).
Why are you attaching documents to my Answers to Interrogatories?
Answers to Interrogatories are an opportunity for you to provide the most information about the case.
Your Answers to Interrogatories will include information about your injury and about your treating doctors. They will also include information about how the injury happened and might reference photographs of the scene of the crash or property damage.
Those medical records and the photographs are attached to the Answers to Interrogatories.
What if I make a mistake?
If you realize that you did not answer a question properly or misunderstood a question, let your attorney know. Your attorney can write to the other lawyer and amend your Answers to Interrogatories.
When I provided Answers to Interrogatories, I had pain in my back and now I am having a surgery.
If your medical condition changes or you undergo another medical procedure, make sure that your attorney knows so that your attorney can amend your Answers to Interrogatories. If the Answers to Interrogatories are not amended, the court might not allow a jury to hear about the new medical treatment.
But what if I don’t want them to know that information?
When you file a lawsuit for personal injury, you open yourself to a lot of scrutiny. The other attorneys are entitled to know about your injury and how it impacts you. You must provide proper responses in the Uniform Answers to Interrogatories.
Sometimes, the additional questions in the Supplemental Interrogatories are not appropriate and your lawyer might object to those questions.
You do not need to disclose privileged information.