What is a deposition in a lawsuit?
There are often many steps in a lawsuit. In fact, a lot of the work takes place before the parties and their lawyers even step foot in the courtroom for trial. This work helps the lawyers narrow the issues for trial and discover information that can help their case.
Discovery in Texas civil cases
When a person files a lawsuit, they might not know everything about the case. They might think that a person acted in a negligent way, but they might not have statements from witnesses about what happened. They might think that a defective product hurt them, but they might not have details from the company about how they made the product. A person who brings a lawsuit to court can make their case stronger by gathering this information. Likewise, a person who defends a personal injury lawsuit can make their case stronger by getting certain information and documentation.
While a lawsuit waits for its day in court, the parties have the opportunity to gather information about the case. There are several ways that a party can get this information. They can send written questions to the other side. They can demand that the other party or even non-parties sit down to answer questions under oath. This process is called a deposition.
How does a deposition work?
To schedule a deposition, an Austin personal injury lawyer sends a notice to the person being deposed. That person gets notice of the time and place that they need to sit to answer questions. The person demanding the deposition must give reasonable advanced notice of the deposition. If they ask for documents as well as oral testimony, there are certain notice periods that the requester must follow in order to make the notice valid under Texas law.
At the deposition, the person deposed takes an oath, to tell the truth. Then, they answer questions. This seems a lot like being on the witness stand only in a less formal setting. Both sides can be at the deposition along with their Austin personal injury lawyers. In Texas, lawyers can record the deposition by video or by using a stenographic recorder.
Objections to a deposition
There are some objections to a deposition. In some cases, you can object to the deposition completely. This can happen if you couldn’t possibly know anything about the case or if the deposition is primarily harassment. To object to an entire deposition, a lawyer files what’s called a Motion to Quash the deposition.
There are also objections that your Austin personal injury lawyer can make during the deposition. These objections are typically that the other attorney attempts to lead the witness to answer a question a certain way or that there’s a problem with the form of the question. An example of a form objection is that a question might call for speculation or it might be vague. In addition, an attorney might tell a witness not to answer a question if they believe that it’s necessary to preserve a valid privilege under Texas law. Contact Briggle & Polan, PLLC for a consultation.