What are Interrogatory Questions?
Interrogatory Questions and Discovery The Complaint and Defendant's Answer is followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by each party. The Superior Court has set up certain "Form" Interrogatories which are contained in the Rules of Court. Generally, written interrogatories are followed by the taking of depositions, which is recorded testimony given under oath by any person the opposition wishes to question. The deposition is just as important as the trial itself. In the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to procedure and will be requested to watch a videotape. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for an Arbitration. If the parties do not settle after the Arbitration, the case will be given a trial call date. Altogether, these procedures may take from six months to several years, and your patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice. An injured person and their attorney must answer Court Rule Interrogatory Questions Form A, plus supplemental questions propounded by the attorney for the defendant. The Court Rules require plaintiffs provide answers. If answers are not provided your case will be dismissed.
You must answer each and every question as detailed as possible. Do not answer any of the questions with, "see doctor's report" or "see bills." We strongly recommend you visit the accident site if possible to refresh your recollection as to distances and buildings nearby. Your attorney will later type up your answers and mail a copy back to you for your records.
The following are the Questions:
Form A. Uniform Interrogatories to be Answered by Plaintiff in All Personal Injury Cases: Superior Court
All questions must be answered unless the court otherwise orders or unless a claim of privilege or protective order is made in accordance with R. 4:17-1(b)(3). (Caption) 1. Full name, present address and date of birth. 2. Describe in detail your version of the accident or occurrence setting forth the date, location, time and weather. 3. Detailed description of nature, extent and duration of any and all injuries. 4. Detailed description of injury or condition claimed to be permanent together with all present complaints. 5. If confined to a hospital, state its name and address, and dates of admission and discharge. 6. If any diagnostic tests were performed, state the type of test performed, name and address of place where performed, date each test was performed and what each test disclosed. Attach a copy of the test results. 7. If treated by any health care provider, state the name and present address of each health care provider, the dates and places where treatments were received and the date of last treatment. Attach true copies of all written reports provided to you by any such health care provider whom you propose to have testify in your behalf. 8. If still being treated, the name and address of each doctor or health care provider rendering treatment, where and how often treatment is received and the nature of the treatment. 9. If a previous injury, disease, illness or condition is claimed to have been aggravated, accelerated or exacerbated, specify in detail the nature of each and the name and present address of each health care provider, if any, who ever provided treatment for the condition. 10. If employed at the time of the accident, state: (a) name and address of employer; (b) position held and nature of work performed; (c) average weekly wages for past year; (d) period of time lost from employment, giving dates; and (e) amount of wages lost, if any. 11. If there has been a return to employment or occupation, state: (a) name and address of present employer; (b) position held and nature of work performed; and (c) present weekly wages, earning, income or profit.
12. If other loss of income, profit or earnings is claimed: (a) state total amount of the loss; (b) give a complete detailed computation of the loss; and (c) state the nature and source of the loss of income, profit and earnings, and he dates of the deprivation. 13. Itemize in complete detail any and all moneys expended or expenses incurred for hospitals, doctors, nurses, diagnostic tests or health care providers, x-rays, medicines, care and appliances and state the name and address of each payee and the amount paid and owed each payee. 14. Itemize any and all other losses or expenses incurred not otherwise set forth. 15. Identify all documents that may relate to this action, and attach copies of each such document. 16. State the names and addresses of all eyewitnesses to the accident or occurrence, their relationship to you and their interest in this lawsuit. 17. State the names and addresses of all persons who have knowledge of any facts relating to the case. 18. If any photographs, videotapes, audio tapes or other forms of electronic recording, sketches, reproductions, charts or maps were made with respect to anything that is relevant to the subject matter of the complaint, describe: (a) the number of each; (b) what each shows or contains; (c) the date taken or made; (d) the names and addresses of the persons who made them; (e) in whose possession they are at present; and (f) if in your possession, attach a copy, or if not subject to convenient copying, state the location where inspection and copying may take place. 19. If you claim that the defendant made any admissions as to the subject matter of this lawsuit, state: (a) the date made; (b) the name of the person by whom made; (c) the name and address of the person to whom made; (d) where made; (e) the name and address of each person present at the time the admission was made; (f) the contents of the admission; and (g) if in writing, attach a copy. 20. If you or your representative and the defendant have had any oral communication concerning the subject matter of this lawsuit, state: (a) the date of the communication; (b) the name and address of each participant; (c) the name and address of each person present at the time of such communication; (d) where such communication took place; and (e) a summary of what was said by each party participating in the communication. 21. If you have obtained a statement from any person not a party to this action, state: (a) the name and present address of the person who gave the statement; (b) whether the statement was oral or in writing and if in writing, attach a copy; (c) the date the statement was obtained; (d) if such statement was oral, whether a recording was made, and if so, the nature of the recording and the name and present address of the person who has custody of it; (e) if the statement was written, whether it was signed by the person making it; (f) the name and address of the person who obtained the statement; and (g) if the statement was oral, a detailed summary of its contents. 22. If you claim that the violation of any statute, rule, regulation or ordinance is a factor in this litigation, state the exact title and section. 23. State the names and addresses of any and all proposed expert witnesses. Set forth in detail the qualifications of each expert named and attach a copy of each expertÃ s current resume. Also attach true copies of all written re-ports provided to you by any such proposed expert witnesses. With respect to all expert witnesses, including treating physicians, who are expected to testify at trial and with respect to any person who has conducted an examination pursuant to Rule 4:19, who may testify, state each such witness's name, address and area of expertise and attach a true copy of all written reports provided to you. If a report is not written, supply a summary of any oral report provided to you. State the subject matter on which your experts are expected to testify. State the substance of the facts and opinions to which your experts are expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion. 24. State whether you have ever been convicted of a crime. YES ( ) or NO ( ). If the answer is "yes", state: (a) date; (b) place; and (c) nature.
TO BE ANSWERED ONLY IN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT CASES 25. Do you have insurance coverage and/or PIP benefits under an applicable policy or policies of automobile insurance? As to each such policy provide the name and address of the insurance carrier, policy number, the named insured and attach a copy of the declaration sheet. If you are making a claim for property damage to a motor vehicle, provide answers to the uniform interrogatories contained in Form B, questions 1 through 18.
RULE 4:17. INTERROGATORIES TO PARTIES 4:17-1. Service, Scope of Interrogatories (a) Generally. Any party may serve upon any other party written interrogatories relating to any matters which may be inquired into under R. 4:10-2. The interrogatories may include a request, at the propounder's expense, for a copy of any paper. (b) Uniform Interrogatories in Certain Actions. (1) Limitations on Interrogatories. In all actions seeking recovery for property damage to automobiles and in all personal injury cases other than wrongful death, toxic torts, cases involving issues of professional malpractice other than medical malpractice, and those products liability cases either involving pharmaceuticals or giving rise to a toxic tort claim, the parties shall be limited to the interrogatories prescribed by Forms A, B and C of Appendix II, as appropriate, provided, however, that each party may propound ten supplemental questions, without subparts, without leave of court. Any additional interrogatories shall be permitted only by the court in its discretion on motion.
(2) Automatic Service of Uniform Interrogatories. A party defendant served with a complaint in an action subject to uniform interrogatories as prescribed by subparagraph b(1) of this rule shall be deemed to have been simultaneously served with such interrogatories. The defendant shall serve answers to the appropriate uniform interrogatories within 60 days after service by that defendant of the answer to the complaint. The plaintiff in such an action shall be deemed to have been served with uniform interrogatories simultaneously with service of defendant's answer to the complaint and shall serve answers to the interrogatories within 30 days after service of the answer to the complaint. In all actions commenced prior to September 5, 2000, however, answers to uniform interrogatories shall be demanded by letter of demand served upon all adverse parties within the time prescribed by R. 4:17-2, and answers shall be served within the time prescribed by R. 4:17-4(b).
(3) Claims of Privilege, Protection. Privileged information need not be disclosed provided the claim of privilege is made pursuant to R. 4:10-2(e). Nor need information be disclosed if it is the subject of an identified protective order issued pursuant to R. 4:10-3. (4) Obligation to Answer Every Question. Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (b)(3) of this rule, every question propounded by a uniform interrogatory must be answered unless the court has otherwise ordered. 4:17-2. Time to Serve Interrogatories Interrogatories may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff or answers demanded pursuant to R. 4:17-1(b) after commencement of the action and served upon or demanded from any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party. Except as provided in R. 4:17-1(b)(2), initial interrogatories shall be served by plaintiff as to each defendant within 40 days after service of that defendant's answer and each defendant shall serve initial interrogatories within said 40-day period. 4:17-3. Number of Copies Served; Form of Interrogatories The party serving the interrogatories shall furnish the answering party with the original thereof. The interrogatories shall be so arranged that after each separate question shall appear a blank space reasonably calculated to enable the answering party to have the answer typed in. 4:17-4. Form, Service and Time of Answers (a) Form of Answers; By Whom Answered. Except as otherwise provided in this rule, interrogatories shall be answered in writing under oath by the party upon whom served, if an individual, or, if a public or private corporation, a partnership or association, or governmental agency, by an officer or agent who shall furnish all information available to the party. If a party is unavailable, the interrogatories may be answered by an agent or authorized representative, including a liability carrier who is conducting the defense, whose answers shall bind the party. The party shall furnish all information available to the party and the party's agents, employees, and attorneys. The person answering the interrogatories shall designate which of such information is not within the answerer's personal knowledge and as to that information shall state the name and address of every person from whom it was received, or, if the source of the information is documentary, a full description including the location thereof. Each question shall be answered separately, fully and responsively either in the space following the question or on separate pages. Except as otherwise provided by paragraph (d) of this rule, if in any interrogatory a copy of a paper is requested, the copy shall be annexed to the answer. If the interrogatory requests the name of an expert or treating physician of the answering party or a copy of the expert's or treating physician's report, the party shall comply with the requirements of paragraph (e) of this rule. (b) Service of Answers; Time; Enlargement of Time. Except as otherwise provided by R. 4:17-1(b)(2), the party served with interrogatories shall serve answers thereto upon the party propounding them within 60 days after being served with the interrogatories. For good cause shown the court may enlarge or shorten such time upon motion on notice made within the 60-day period. Consent orders enlarging the time are prohibited. (c) Copies; Service by Propounding Party. The original of the answers shall be served upon the propounding party, who shall then serve a copy of the interrogatories and answers upon each of the other parties. Parties against whom default has been entered need not, however, be served, and parties represented by the same attorney need be served with one copy. (d) Option to Produce Business Records. Where the answer to an interrogatory may be derived or ascertained from or requires annexation of copies of the business records of the party upon whom the interrogatory has been served or from an examination, audit or inspection of such business records, or from a compilation abstract or summary based thereon, and the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer is substantially the same for the party serving the interrogatory as for the party served, it is a sufficient answer to such interrogatory to specify the records from which the answer may be derived or ascertained and to afford to the party serving the interrogatory reasonable opportunity to examine, audit or inspect such records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts or summaries. (e) Expert's or Treating Physician's Names and Reports. If an interrogatory requires a copy of the report of an expert witness or a treating physician, the answering party shall annex to the interrogatory an exact copy of the entire report or reports rendered by the expert or treating physician or a complete summary of any oral report. The answering party shall further certify to not knowing of the existence of other reports of that expert or treating physician, either written or oral, and if such become later known or available, they shall be served promptly on the propounding party, but in no case later than the time provided by R. 4:17-7. If the answer to an interrogatory requesting the name and report of the party's expert or treating physician indicates that the same will be supplied thereafter, the propounder may, on notice, move for an order of the court fixing a day certain for the furnishing of that information by the answering party. Such order may further provide that an expert or treating physician whose name or report is not so furnished shall not be permitted to testify at trial.
Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee, GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us or New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htm
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,
2053 Woodbridge Avenue,
Edison, NJ 08817,