Interrogatories are written questions requiring the responding party to provide written answers under oath. In the context of medical malpractice cases, these interrogatories are questions which are given to those claiming an injury from medical malpractice (plaintiffs) as well those alleged to have committed (defendants).
Interrogatories Directed to Defendants in Medical Malpractice Cases
Plaintiff attorneys direct interrogatories to defendants in order to gather information which enables the plaintiff attorney to build the case. Each state has laws governing the timing and scope of such interrogatories.
Obviously the focal point of such questions will address the circumstances surrounding the alleged injury. Such questions will ask for information about the related medical procedures preceding the injury, medical procedures performed at the time of the injury, and any related procedures performed after the injury. Such questions will also ask for medical records related to such medical procedures.
In addition to questions directly related to the injury, plaintiff attorneys will also ask other questions to assist in the building of the case. Below is a list of some, but not all, questions that might be posed to the defendant:
Tests Ordered and Results
Interrogatories may ask for a complete list and description of all tests ordered and the results.
Hospital and group practice policies
Plaintiff attorneys may ask for the hospital’s policies on the types of procedures at issue. Attorneys are also likely to ask for hospital policies and procedures on how medical documents are stored.
Plaintiff attorneys may ask questions regarding the doctor’s education. This may include not only their basic medical training but also any specialized training pertinent to the injury. Additionally, interrogatories may ask the doctor to provide information related to their ongoing continuing medical education.
In addition to asking for paper records, plaintiff may ask for the electronic version of medical records.
Interrogatories may ask for the billing codes related to procedures performed by the doctor (and other medical personnel) in connection with the plaintiff. Such codes will give the plaintiff’s attorney detailed information about procedures performed.
Interrogatories may request a copy of the doctor’s schedule for pertinent times.
Plaintiff attorneys may ask for all imaging studies and the complete radiology file.
Employment agreements and Group Agreements
The plaintiff attorney sometimes asks for employment agreements between the doctor and the hospital and his practice group. The attorney may also ask for any contracts between the group practice and the hospital.
Interrogatories may ask for records related to telephone calls that may have taken place during the time in question among involved doctors and other medical personnel.
Videos and Pictures
Plaintiff attorneys will also ask for copies of any videos or photographs taken in connection with procedures at issue.
The plaintiff attorney may ask the defendant to state which defenses they intend to assert regarding the matter.
The above is just a sample list of questions that may be posed to defendants. Plaintiff attorneys may pose additional questions. In all events, each state has specific laws that govern the scope and timing of interrogatories posed to defendants.
Interrogatories Directed to Plaintiffs in Medical Malpractice Cases
Just as plaintiff attorneys may pose interrogatories to defendants, defendant attorneys may pose them to plaintiffs. Below is a list of some, but not all, questions that might be posed to the plaintiff:
Medical Bills and Records
The defendant’s attorney may pose interrogatories which ask the plaintiff to provide copies of medical bills and medical records related to the alleged injury.
Expert Witnesses In Medical Malpractice Cases
Interrogatories directed to the plaintiff may ask him or her to reveal whom they intend to call as expert witnesses. For example, if the plaintiff visited another doctor (the “expert” in this case) to examine the injuries alleged to have been sustained at the hands of the defendant doctor, the defendant’s attorney will want to know the name and other information about that expert.
Theory of the case
The defendant’s attorney may use interrogatories to uncover the plaintiff’s theory of the case – i.e., why the alleged injury was caused by the defendant.
The above is just a sample list of questions that may be posed to plaintiffs. Defendant attorneys may pose additional questions. In all events, each state has specific laws that govern the scope and timing of interrogatories posed to plaintiffs.
The Pittsburgh law firm of Hal Waldman and Associates hopes that you and your loved ones are never the victim of medical malpractice. We have been helping people injured by medical malpractice for more than 30 years. Call us at 412-567-4655 for a quick consultation so that we can quickly help you determine if you would benefit from legal counsel. The call is free and puts you under no obligation. We want to help you!