Were you involved in a motorcycle crash in Douglasville, Georgia? Then, notifying a motorcycle accident lawyer in Douglasville is one of the most important decisions you can make. Your accident attorney will do everything possible to ensure you get maximum compensation. They often achieve this by reaching an agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Unfortunately, traffic crash cases don’t always end in an out-of-court settlement. Sometimes, your Douglasville motorcycle accident lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit. In such situations, they’ll try to build or prepare your case through various means. Interrogatories are one of the ways they get ready for trial.
Since interrogatories are an essential part of your lawsuit, it’s important to understand what they are and their uses. That way, you’ll know what to expect and be better prepared for your case. So, if you’re wondering what interrogatories are, this article has the answers you need. But for more information, contact Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler.
What Are Interrogatories?
Filing a civil court case in Georgia requires that you go through five stages. They’re pleadings, discovery, motions, trials, and appeals.
The discovery stage allows the opposing parties to obtain information about facts and issues from each other. Besides helping your lawyer prepare better for the case, it also increases the chances of a fair trial. During the discovery stage, you use interrogatories.
Interrogatories are the questions both parties ask each other to facilitate evidence gathering and obtain relevant information. They’re also a means of determining the facts in dispute before trial. For example, the defendant can claim that you were at fault because you were speeding but acknowledge that you weren’t intoxicated. This makes it clear that the dispute is whether you were driving above the recommended speed limit, not drunkenness.
Interrogatories also ensure that the other party doesn’t change the narrative later. It guarantees that no party will have new allegations leveled against them as the case progresses. However, note that interrogatories aid fact-finding only; you can’t ask questions that lead to legal conclusions.
It’s also important to understand that under Georgia laws, each side has a limit of 50 interrogatories (subparts inclusive). Therefore, if there are multiple defendants, you can send 50 questions to each.
You must also respond to interrogatories in writing within 30 days of receiving them. This will extend to 45 days if you also receive a complaint simultaneously. However, the court can extend your response time when the need arises.
Remember, your response to interrogatories is under oath. So, you’re mandated to tell the truth or risk legal sanctions. You can also raise objections to certain questions if you have valid reasons. Finally, you must sign all your answers while your motorcycle accident lawyer in Douglasville signs the objections.
Interrogatories vs Depositions
People often use interrogatories and depositions interchangeably. Sometimes, they refer to interrogatories as “written depositions.” However, while both terms have numerous similarities (especially because they’re parts of the discovery stage), they’re not the same.
The fact is that interrogatories and depositions perform similar functions — to obtain adequate information about a pending civil case. However, while interrogatories are written, depositions are oral.
A deposition typically happens in the office of a motorcycle accident lawyer. Your attorney will question the deponent (witness) under oath to resolve specific facts in issue (rather than legal issues). You’ll swear to be truthful in depositions, and a court reporter will be present to record proceedings. Note that depositions may be videotaped and used as evidence during the trial.
What Kind of Questions Should I Expect During Interrogatories?
Interrogatories typically come as open-ended questions asking you to provide details on specific facts/claims. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect multiple-choice questions as they want you to describe everything in detail. Sometimes, they’re barely questions; instead, they may come as topic lists that require your response.
While interrogatories differ depending on your case’s specific, you should prepare for questions around:
Your Personal/Family History
The first interrogatories will typically ask you to provide your name, contact information, date of birth, etc. They may also include questions about your marital status, family, driving, and financial history. While these may seem irrelevant to you, answering them as truthfully as possible is important.
There will always be questions about your employment details in auto crash interrogatories. That’s especially if you’re claiming lost wages as damages. The other party will want to know your wage and benefits history. They may also ask questions to reveal if you have a track record of leaving/getting fired from work.
Your medical/treatment history is an important part of your claim. The opposing side will want to know your physical/mental health background, the injuries you suffered, medication, rehabilitation, etc. As always, respond comprehensively to these questions and stick to the truth.
A significant part of interrogatories hovers around what happened immediately and after the crash. So, be sure to expect questions that mandate you to narrate everything you remember about the accident in detail. For example, you may need to provide information about the automobiles involved, witnesses, locations, bodily injuries, property damage, etc. The defense lawyer may also ask about traffic/street lights and other road features.
Note that interrogatories may contain trick questions to discredit your story. So, speak with your attorney before submitting your response to ensure that you give the appropriate answers.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Douglasville?
The simple answer to this question is yes. A personal injury attorney is essential to your claim if you want the best possible results. Here’s why.
Knowing what to expect in your motorcycle accident lawsuit is always good to avoid unpleasant surprises. But, again, having to respond to interrogatories under oath can be pretty terrifying. Fortunately, an experienced attorney will allay your fears and prepare you beforehand for trick questions.
Proper Answers to Interrogatories
When the opposing lawyer sends you interrogatories, they aim to trick you into building their case. Your motorcycle accident lawyer in Douglasville understands this and will ensure you answer correctly to avoid the implications of perjury. However, when necessary, they’ll also help you provide constructive answers to avoid shooting yourself in the foot. Your lawyers will ensure that you don’t admit guilt, look inconsistent or untrustworthy, or provide irrelevant answers to interrogatories.
Legal Advice/Moral Support
Your attorney understands the law like the back of their palms. They’ll leverage this knowledge to advise you on the best ways to file your lawsuit without mistakes. The best lawyers will also provide you with enough emotional support to motivate you throughout this process.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Douglasville Now!
Are you preparing for a motorcycle crash lawsuit in Douglasville? Our personal injury attorneys in Georgia at Hartley, Rowe, & Fowler, can help. We’ll stand by you from the beginning to the end of your case to ensure you get maximum compensation. Contact us for a free case evaluation now.