The majority of people who are involved in a mesothelioma lawsuit do not understand what occurs during a deposition. Attorneys who are unfamiliar with asbestos cases may find that they experience unexpected things during a deposition.
If you are interested in bringing a mesothelioma claim, then you may want to learn more about what happens during a mesothelioma deposition. Depositions are important to any mesothelioma case, and the following information will help you become more familiar with the mechanics of depositions.
Depositions: The Basics
Depositions do not occur in a courthouse. Although traditionally, depositions took place in conference rooms, today the majority of depositions occur remotely over Zoom and other software applications. However, the deponent must provide sworn testimony under oath and under penalty of perjury.
An attorney will ask the deponent questions, and the deponent is expected to answer truthfully. Also, a court reporter will be present in the room or on the screen, typing a transcript of the deposition. The transcript will be copied and sent to the deponent and the attorneys who represent the parties in the case – a deposition transcript is often used to impeach a witness at trial.
The majority of questions attorneys ask during depositions are strategic and relate specifically to a particular aspect of the case. The individuals who are being deposed will typically meet with their attorneys to review documents and the facts of the case.
However, the attorney who represents the deponent may also object during the deposition. For example, an attorney may object that a deponent is being asked a question that relates to information protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Depositions are typically no longer than seven hours long. However, most depositions will be between two hours and four hours. If extremely important parties or witnesses are being deposed, then it is likely that the session will be five or six hours long.
If you are involved in a long deposition, you should remember that you will take a lunch break during the process. Also, you can request to stop and take a break if you need some fresh air or if you have to use the restroom.
Deposing the Injured Victim
The individual who has suffered injuries is one of the most critical witnesses in a mesothelioma case. An injured person will be able to provide information and details regarding the particular episodes of asbestos exposure that occurred in the past.
A deponent can stop a deposition if they begin to feel sick or ill. Many attorneys who conduct depositions will ask the deponent if they feel too sick to continue the deposition. If an injured victim needs to stop in the middle of a deposition, then the session can be continued on another date when the person is feeling physically and mentally well.
You should never lose your ability to be calm, collected, and focused during a deposition. Many attorneys use different techniques and tactics to make deponents feel angry, emotional, and frustrated.
Do not allow an attorney to make you feel insulted or offended during a questioning session. The best thing you can do is follow the advice of your attorney, and always answer questions in a straightforward manner while providing additional information.
Depositions Are Important
Depositions occur during the discovery phase of a case. Discovery can take place over months, and in complex cases, it is possible for multiple people to be deposed by the attorneys for each party in the case. The evidence that can be relevant to settlement negotiations may come out during deposition testimony.
A skilled attorney will be able to examine deponents carefully and methodically to obtain as much information as possible about your exposure to asbestos and what caused you to suffer your injuries. The dangerous conditions or products that caused a victim’s injuries may be identified during a deposition. These facts will be relevant to any subsequent settlement negotiations.
The more evidence an attorney can collect regarding the cause of a victim’s injuries, the more likely it is that the burden of proof will be satisfied. The party bringing a mesothelioma claim must prove the claim by a preponderance of the evidence.
In some cases, the burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence. These factors are relevant to all attorneys who use depositions to help build strong cases.
Mesothelioma Cases and Depositions
Mesothelioma cases are unique, and depositions are different in mesothelioma cases. The primary reason this is the case is the fact that multiple defendants are often involved in mesothelioma cases.
Many different attorneys may examine witnesses and parties in mesothelioma cases. For example, an injured victim may file mesothelioma claims against three different business organizations that may be liable for the victim’s injuries. Each defendant will have an attorney depose the injured party who claims their mesothelioma case is due to asbestos exposure caused by the business organization.
Depositions are essential tools for gathering information. They are a part of the discovery phase of a case, and all deponents may feel intimidated during depositions. However, it is important to remember that an attorney will be by your side protecting your legal rights while you are being deposed.
Attorneys on both sides will object during depositions if an examiner attempts to acquire privileged information. Mesothelioma cases also involve complex medical and scientific information, so depositions of physicians and nurses may focus on highly technical aspects of a victim’s mesothelioma diagnosis. An attorney will make sure that all privileged information is protected even during a contentious deposition.
Contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
You may not know what to do if you have never been deposed before. At the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we help deponents prepare for any question they may face during a deposition. Being prepared by an attorney can help you feel more confident during a deposition.
The experienced attorneys at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm can help you learn more about how to assert your mesothelioma claim. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.