Can You Walk Out of a Deposition?

Can You Walk Out of a Deposition?

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Can You Walk Out of a Deposition?

Before a case goes to trial, both parties may engage in the discovery process. Discovery is the process of exchanging information about witnesses and evidence that will be presented during trial. This process gives both parties a fair chance at a trial, ensuring they do not discover new information they did not prepare for during the trial.

However, disposition processes can be overwhelming. The other party might ask uncomfortable questions. Similarly, the process involves complex legal terms and rules you may not be familiar with. As a result, you may be tempted to walk out of the deposition. 

Although you can legally walk out of a deposition, it is never advisable to do so, especially without your attorney’s advice. Walking out of deposition could jeopardize the case.

How Does Deposition Work?

The deposition process begins with a subpoena, an official document requesting you to testify under oath. The subpoena will include the location, date, and time of the deposition. Normally, you can change the date and time if the initial schedule does not work for you. 

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  • Can You Ignore a Subpoena?

    A subpoena is considered a legal request. However, ignoring this request could lead to serious legal consequences and disciplinary actions. If you are uncomfortable responding to a subpoena, speak with an experienced attorney to understand your options. 

  • What Happens During Deposition?

    During deposition, a court reporter, legal representative for each party, the defendant, witnesses, and experts will likely be present. Depositions usually occur at neutral locations, such as a hotel conference room. 

    During deposition, you will be required to testify under oath. If you are not sure what to do throughout the process, your lawyer should be able to guide you.

  • Why Would Anyone Want to Walk Out of a Deposition?

    Although it is never advisable to walk out of a deposition, certain situations could tempt you to do so. After all, we are all humans with feelings and emotions. 

    For instance, certain questions could bring back painful memories. Similarly, some may infringe on your rights or privacy. Regardless, speaking with an experienced attorney is always advisable before deciding to walk out. 

    Speaking with an attorney allows you to plan ahead. Given their experience, your attorney can predict the kind of questions to expect during deposition. This information can help you prepare well, ensuring you make the right decisions throughout the process. 

    Here are a few examples of situations that could tempt you to walk out of deposition:

    When the Other Party Wants You to Reveal Privileged Information

    Privileged information refers to information that cannot be inquired into. Examples of such information include:

    • Conversations between a doctor and patient
    • Conversations between an attorney and their client
    • Confessions to a priest

    When the Other Party Wants You to Reveal Private Information

    Certain information is usually considered private. Examples of such information include your health, religious beliefs, and sexuality. However, you may be required to reveal certain details initially considered private if they have anything to do with the case. Again, an attorney can help you understand this since deposition processes vary from one case to another. 

    When the Other Party Asks You to Reveal Irrelevant Information

    In this case, irrelevant information refers to information that has nothing to do with your case. Again, your attorney can advise you on how to move forward in such a situation. 

    It is also important to note that most deposition processes become uncomfortable as they progress. As a result, you may feel frustrated, annoyed, confused, etc. 

    Always bear in mind that you are allowed to take a break and resume when you are ready. Speak with your attorney whenever you feel the need to take a break.

  • How Should I Answer Questions During Deposition?

    Knowing how to answer questions during deposition gives you the confidence to face the other party. Additionally, knowing how intimidating and overwhelming these processes are, it is always advisable to plan ahead. 

    Here are some quick pointers to always keep in mind: 

    Listen to each question carefully before crafting your answer. If you do not understand the question, you are allowed to ask the other party to repeat or clarify.

    Do not provide information that is not related to the question. Doing so only provides the other party with more opportunities to ask even more questions.

    You should only reply with truthful answers. If you are unsure about a particular question, it is okay to simply say ‘I don’t know.’ That is a much better response than answering a question you are not so sure of. 

    Consult with your attorney before the deposition. A seasoned attorney should be able to offer examples of questions to expect, depending on the specifics of your case. 

    Practice as much as possible when you have access to this kind of information. Knowing the kind of questions to expect will give you the confidence you need to face the other party during the deposition. 

  • How Can an Attorney Help During Deposition?

    Depositions can be uncomfortable and overwhelming. It is even worse when you do not have an attorney by your side. Although you can attend a deposition without an attorney, this is not advisable. Here are a few reasons why hiring a deposition attorney is a great idea. 

    The most important thing you need to know about depositions is that they are usually conducted under oath. This means that whatever you say could be used against you. The last thing you want is to find yourself in legal trouble simply because you were misquoted. 

    And when it comes to depositions, the other party will always take advantage of any opportunity to win the case. So if you say anything incriminating, especially under oath, it could jeopardize the entire case. 

    As mentioned earlier, an attorney can also help you prepare for the deposition. This is because deposition processes can be overwhelming and frustrating. The other party will most likely ask questions you are uncomfortable with. Some even ask trick questions, the kind of questions that could lead you to reveal information you are not supposed to. An experienced attorney will review your case and help you prepare for the kind of questions to expect from the other party.

    Such an attorney can also help you understand how to react to different questions. Since depositions can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially for first-time individuals, it is pretty easy to lose your patience.

    A seasoned attorney will train you on how to act throughout the session. Remember, your character, expressions, or even body language could be interpreted differently depending on the context. An attorney will help you prepare, giving you the confidence you need to attend a deposition. 

    Lastly, when you are the plaintiff in a deposition, the opposing party has more freedom to ask you questions about the case. For this reason, you need an attorney to help you stay on track throughout the deposition. 

  • How Does Deposition Work in Personal Injury Cases?

    You might be wondering how personal injury cases and depositions are connected. In this section, we will discuss the connection between these two and when a personal injury case must go through a deposition. 

  • When Deposition Is Necessary in a Personal Injury Case

    When you get injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim. The first step involves seeking medical attention after the injury. Then, you will contact an experienced personal injury attorney for legal guidance.

    The attorney will evaluate your case to determine whether you have a valid claim against the other party. If established that your claim is valid, the personal injury lawyer will investigate the circumstances that led to the injury and prove fault. 

    In some cases, more than one party may be responsible for your injuries. The attorney’s responsibility is to maximize your claim, ensuring that all parties that contributed to your injury are liable for their negligent actions or inactions. 

    The lawyer will then collect crucial evidence to prove your case. This process may involve reviewing video surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, taking pictures of the accident scene, obtaining expert opinion, etc. 

    The next step involves assessing your damages. These damages fall under two categories:

    Economic damages: These are the kinds of damages that lead to financial losses and expenses. Examples include lost wages, loss of earning potential, medical bills, cost of caregiving, etc.

    Non-economic damages: These are the kinds of damages that do not involve financial losses or expenses. In most cases, non-economic damages cannot be seen, but they exist. Examples include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, etc. 

    Sometimes, the attorney might see it fit to file a claim later than sooner. For instance, an experienced attorney will wait until their client attains maximum medical improvement, also known as MMI.

    This term refers to the point where medical professionals believe that no further improvement for the patient is possible. The main goal of waiting until the patient reaches MMI is to maximize the claim. This is because filing a claim prematurely could free the negligent party from any future liability.

    For example, suppose the accident victim accepts settlement for a particular injury and signs the release of settlement agreement. In that case, you cannot reopen the case when they realize they need additional compensation to settle their medical expenses or other damages caused by the injury in question. 

    Once the attorney has created a strong case against the other party, they will file a claim with their insurer. The insurance provider will respond to the claim, usually to negotiate a reasonable settlement. However, there are times when the other party completely refuses to cooperate with the plaintiff’s attorney. In that case, filing a lawsuit might be the only way to recover the settlement. 

    When the attorney files a lawsuit against the defendant, the case is presented before a judge. But even before the official hearing or trial, both parties might be required to attend a deposition. As mentioned earlier in this article, a deposition allows both parties to review evidence and witnesses to the case. 

    This step helps give both parties a fair chance at trial by avoiding surprises. It also allows both parties to prepare their cases based on available evidence and witness statements. 

    In personal injury cases, in particular, deposition helps confirm certain facts of the case. Examples of these facts include:

    • The location of the accident
    • The injuries suffered by the plaintiff
    • Strengths and weaknesses of the arguments in the case
    • How the injury occurred
  • How Can Morgan & Morgan Personal Injury Attorneys Help You During Deposition?

    Although deposition is a crucial step of the personal injury lawsuit process, not every law firm or attorney you encounter is capable of representing you the way you deserve. You need an experienced attorney to handle the deposition process, given how important it is to your claim. 

    The other party will likely have skilled legal representatives to protect their interests. Unfortunately, this can be quite intimidating, especially when seeking compensation from a big company. 

    At Morgan & Morgan, you can trust our seasoned attorneys to fight for you. We have decades of experience representing clients during deposition. For this reason, we know the different tactics insurance companies and their representatives use to free themselves from liability.

    You deserve to win, but winning has everything to do with the legal team you choose to work with. Contact Morgan & Morgan, the largest personal injury law firm in the United States, for a free case evaluation. 

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