Why Do I Have to Answer Interrogatories?

If you filed a lawsuit in Florida, you will be required to answer interrogatories propounded by the Defendant. But are you legally required to answer these interrogatories? Since the Defendant hurt you through their negligence, why should you have to answer their interrogatory questions?

Our Boynton Beach personal injury lawyers explain interrogatories, which ones you must answer and which ones you can avoid answering through objections.

Interrogatories Asked to a Plaintiff in a Florida Lawsuit

Each party (Plaintiff and Defendant) has a legal right to propound interrogatories pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.340. In theory, you are legally required to answer each interrogatory to the best of your ability.

What is an Interrogatory?

An interrogatory is a list of questions sent by the Defendant to you, the Plaintiff. Your answer to these questions are under oath, meaning they can be used against you in trial or deposition.

Why are Interrogatories Asked of Me, the Plaintiff?

You are the victim that got hurt through no fault of your own. So why should you be required to answer their questions, right? Well, the law says you have to try to answer their interrogatories. However, your lawyer can object to them and allow you to avoid answering certain questions.

Answering Your Interrogatories with Assistance of Counsel

Everyone hates lawyers… until you need one. This is true once you are asked to answer interrogatories in a Florida personal injury case. The good news is that you are allowed to answer these questions with your lawyer’s help. If you have a skilled personal injury lawyer, he or she can help craft your responses in a way that will not harm your case.

Avoiding Answering Interrogatories Through Legally Appropriate Objections

Your lawyer will help you avoid answering certain questions through legally recognized objections. For example, we have listed some valid objections below.

Interrogatory Questions Exceed 30 in Violation of 1.340(a)

In Florida, a party is only allowed to propound 30 or less interrogatory questions. If the Defendant wants to exceed 30 interrogatory questions, they need to go to Court and get permission from the Judge. This 30 question limit includes subparts, meaning the below is actually 3 questions, not just 1.

INTERROGATORY 1. Do you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses?

a. If so, please provide the name of the doctor who prescribes your vision treatment.

b. If so, please provide the date you were first prescribed your vision treatment.

Vague and Overbroad Interrogatories

If a question is so vague and overbroad that it is impossible to answer, the party may object on the grounds that the question to too broad or vague to answer. An example is below.

INTERROGATORY 2. Have you ever suffered an injury prior to the Boynton Beach car accident of 8/2/2017?

Answer: Objection, vague and overbroad as to ‘injury’.

Irrelevant Interrogatories

If a question is not reasonably calculated to lead to discoverable evidence, the party may object to the relevancy of the question. For example, if your case involves a Florida nursing home abuse death claim, and the decedent was retired for 20 years, no wage loss claim will be made. Therefore a relevancy objection is proper to the following interrogatory.

INTERROGATORY 3. Please provide the decedent’s work history, annual income and employer name(s) for the past 10 years.

Answer: Objection, relevancy. No wage loss claim is being made.

Interrogatories that Call for an Expert Opinion

You are not a doctor. You are also not an engineer or an accident reconstruction expert. Your attorney may retain these experts in your case, however, you are not expected to become your own expert witness. If an interrogatory requires an expert to answer, you can object as follows.

INTERROGATORY 4. Explain in detail why you feel the hip fracture was due to a nursing home fall and not osteoporosis.

Answer: Objection, this calls for an expert opinion. I am not a doctor.

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