Depositions and interrogatories have some things in common, such as being steps in the discovery phase of a case. An injury victim and the liable party are both subjected to depositions and interrogatories, and some other parties may be, too. However, there are also some important differences between the two.
Below, we discuss some of these differences and why they matter during an injury case.
A deposition is an important part of the discovery phase after a lawsuit has been filed. The deposition is usually an audio or video recorded verbal question and answer session between the party being asked the questions (deposed) and the attorney of the opposing party.
There are usually a few people present during a deposition, including the attorney for the person who is being deposed, the attorney asking the questions and a court reporter who is recording the deposition.
All questions asked during a deposition must be answered under oath, but the person being deposed has the right to object to a question with good cause.
In California, a deposition may only last seven hours, which is the same for federal civil proceedings.
Unlike a deposition, interrogatories are written questions sent from one party to another. However, just like a deposition, these written questions are also answered under oath.
The person who is subjected to these questions must answer them all or object to any he or she finds unreasonable or unrelated to the case. These objections are usually done by the attorney representing the person being asked the questions.
There are also limits to interrogatories, including the number of questions asked. Each party is only legally allowed to ask up to 25 questions, which must all be relevant to the injury, accident or overall case.
Since both depositions and interrogatories are part of the discovery process, whether they are necessary depends on a few things.
First, for either of these things to occur, a lawsuit must be filed, and the discovery phase must begin. Without a lawsuit, there are no depositions or interrogatories. Next, the case must move through the phases of discovery and eventually get to the point when a deposition or interrogatory would be required to gather necessary information for the case.
There are some instances when a lawsuit is filed and discovery begins, but the case never reaches the point of interrogatories or depositions because the opposing parties come to a settlement agreement through negotiations.
Whether a deposition or interrogatory questions come first in a case depends on how your attorney believes the case should proceed. However, most cases begin with interrogatories to establish some basic facts about the case and gather more information prior to questioning the opposing party. Especially since some interrogatory questions may overlap with the ones asked during a deposition.
The benefit of undergoing interrogatories prior to a deposition is that this provides you the opportunity to provide further proof that you suffered an injury due to another person’s negligence, which may help the opposing side realize it would be best to offer a settlement that would be enough to cover your damages.
Additionally, going through interrogatories before being questioned by an opposing attorney may be less stressful to the injury victim. It also provides the opportunity to get some relief from your injuries before being subjected to a seven-hour question and answer session if your injuries are severe.
Whether you need help filing an insurance claim or are thinking about suing a liable party after suffering an injury, our experienced personal injury lawyers in Sacramento are prepared to help.
We offer a free consultation to review your legal options. If you choose to work with us, we do not charge you anything up front and we only get paid if you do.
There is no risk to you. Call 916-777-7777 to get started.