Interrogatories in a First Party Property Insurance Lawsuit

By Wesley J. Farrell, Esq.

Interrogatories are written questions sent to another party in the case, typically an opposing party to be answered under oath. They are one of the major discovery tools and, are often one of the first used after a first party property insurance suit is commenced. Interrogatories can be a fast and relatively inexpensive way to for each side to begin obtaining information about the other side’s case.

Any successful First-Party Insurance Claim invariably begins with a prompt and thorough investigation of the facts surrounding the claim. This means that if you are filing a lawsuit, interrogatories are very important for making your case. You must answer interrogatories “under oath.” This means you are swearing the answers are true. If you lie on purpose, you may have to pay a fine or go to jail. Interrogatories let you hear the other side’s story, so you can better prepare your case for the court.

Are Interrogatories Different from Depositions?

Yes. In some cases, one or both sides may also want to take depositions, which, unlike written interrogatories, are in-person interviews. Depositions usually take place in attorneys’ offices. The attorneys ask questions about facts and events related to the accident. You must swear to tell the truth. A court reporter records everything word-for- word and gives both sides a copy of the transcript. In some cases, the depositions are videotaped and may be used as evidence in court.

What Are Some Typical Questions Asked in First Party Property Insurance Interrogatories?

The Defendant’s Interrogatories to the Plaintiff can include questions like these:

  • List the each of the specific policy provisions, and list the specific policy language being relied on, or which you believe may support, the Defendants decision to deny coverage, or otherwise not pay the entire amount claimed, for any part of the subject claim.
  • Do you intend to call any expert witness at the trial of this case? If so state as to each such witness the name and business address of the witness, the witness’ qualifications as an expert, the subject matter upon which the witness is expected to testify, the substance of the facts and opinions to which the witness is expected to testify, and a summary of the grounds for each opinion.
  • Describe any photo, movie, videotape, diagram, sketch, or drawing which depicts damage being claimed in the subject claim, or otherwise relates to the insured property at issue; and please also provide: a. date it was generated; b. the preparer; c. and the present custodian.
  • List the names, address, and phone number of any investigator, field adjuster, third party, third party administrator, consultant, contractor, or engineer hired by, or otherwise directed to investigate, adjust, handle, or perform services on the subject claim, or the subject property.

If you have received discovery requests or have questions about interrogatories, contact one of our experienced first party property insurance attorneys for assistance! Our team of attorneys have decades of experience providing affordable representation to Individual and Corporate policy holders facing a wide range of denied, delayed or underpaid insurance claim issues.

Contact our law firm today at (305) 300-3000 for a free consultation!