What happens after a wrongful death deposition depends on the circumstances of your case, the point at which the deposition occurs during the lawsuit process, and how the deposition affects the next step in legal proceedings.
If you give a deposition toward the beginning of the case investigation, the process will likely continue for an extended period of time. If the deposition takes place near the end of the pre-trial procedure, it could lead to the negotiation of a settlement or a trial.
After your deposition, both the other party’s legal team and you or your lawyer will look at the information gathered from the questions and answers provided. In some cases, the deposition may include information about important witnesses, who the other party’s attorney may also call in for a deposition. The steps that follow a deposition vary based on the specifics of your case, but a lawyer can give you an idea of what to expect in your situation.
Purpose of a Deposition in a Wrongful Death Case
A deposition is when a witness gives a testimony out of court. These types of interviews take place at the request of the other party’s legal team and do not directly involve the court. A lawyer may request a deposition, also known as an examination before trial (EBT), to obtain truthful answers from the opposing party, who must respond to the questions asked of them under oath.
Attorneys take depositions for six primary reasons, which include:
- Seeking discovery or information regarding the other party
- Seeking admissions of fact
- Testing theories
- Gaining material for trial
- Preserving testimony in case of witness unavailability during trial
- Observing witnesses for the other side and make judgment calls
What happens after a wrongful death deposition often depends on the reason the attorney called it and how the results affected the progress of your case. A lawyer can help you understand the purpose of your deposition and determine the next step.
Depositions as a Part of Discovery
A deposition takes place as one of several parts of discovery or the process by which both parties involved in a civil case gather information to prepare for trial. Discovery also involves four other primary methods, known as devices, for obtaining information from the other party.
In some cases, a legal team asks the opposing party particular questions in writing, which require a written response in return. The court refers to this device as an interrogatory, and like a deposition, it must take place under oath. However, an attorney can only request an answer from the other party, not witnesses, and the questions must have relevance to the lawsuit.
Lawyers sometimes forgo interrogatories in wrongful death cases, and sometimes they use them before depositions to determine a framework for asking the other party questions.
Production and Inspection
A legal team may request that the other party present documents and other items that they intend to use as evidence in the case. They may then inspect and copy these items for their own purposes.
Requests for Admissions of Facts
Either party can ask the other side to verify the validity of a fact deemed important to the case or prove the authenticity of documents prior to going to trial. This helps minimize the delays associated with having to provide this proof mid-trial.
In certain cases, the lawyer for the defendant may request that the plaintiff see a doctor for a physical or mental health examination. This occurs most often in personal injury cases, not wrongful death.
Discovery typically involves many steps, and some of them may occur after your deposition.
How the Deposition Process Works
Depositions have a structured process that allows both lawyers and the deponent, or the person who will respond to questions in the deposition, to know what to expect. A deposition typically begins with formalities, in which the opposing party’s attorney will confirm basic information such as who you are and what the case entails before you take an oath administered by a notary public.
At this point, the attorney may ask you questions pertaining to you and your case, such as:
- Your background
- Your criminal record
- The timeline of events
- Your familiarity with certain documents
- The allegations
- The damages you request
A Lawyer Can Help You Prepare for Your Deposition
A lawyer will answer all of your questions about the deposition process and let you know what you should wear and bring to the deposition, when you should arrive, and the physical setup of the meeting to ease your fears about the process. Afterward, they can help you determine how the deposition affected progress in the case and what to expect moving forward.
If your loved one suffered a fatal injury as the result of another person’s negligence, a wrongful death lawyer can help you manage your lawsuit and prepare for your deposition. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 593-3443 to speak with our legal team about your free case evaluation.