- October 2 2023
- | Wrongful Death
You may ask, “As the surviving heir who is bringing a wrongful death lawsuit, would I be subject to discovery from the lawyers defending the person or entity that cause the wrongful death?”
There is always a possibility that anyone involved in a lawsuit is going to have to submit to a deposition. In a wrongful death case, the deposition will help the defense raise the issue of what kind of recoverable damages are available.
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death lawsuits are legal actions taken when a person’s death is caused by the negligence or misconduct of another party. These lawsuits are typically filed by the survivors or representatives of the deceased, seeking compensation for their loss. If you are in Reno and need legal assistance, it’s advisable to consult with a Reno wrongful death lawyer who specializes in such cases.
The Role of Depositions in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A deposition is a legal process where a lawyer asks a series of questions to the other party or a witness from the other party, which they must answer under oath. It is a form of testimony that occurs outside of a courtroom. Both sides can request depositions to establish facts that may help them build their case.
Depositions take place during discovery, which is the pre-trial process by which parties in a civil action gather information to help them prepare for trial. While wrongful death cases can end in a settlement before the case reaches trial, information obtained during discovery can help both parties negotiate a settlement.
Why Depositions Matter
Depositions provide an opportunity for both sides to gather information about the case. For the plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit), depositions can help establish the liability of the defendant (the person being sued). For the defendant, depositions can help challenge the plaintiff’s claims.
Who Can Be Deposed
In wrongful death lawsuits, several people may be deposed, including:
- Survivors: Family members who have suffered loss due to the death can provide valuable testimony about their relationship with the deceased and the impact of their loss.
- Representatives: The representative of the deceased’s estate (often a family member or attorney) can testify about the financial impact of the death.
- Expert Witnesses: Medical professionals, accident reconstruction experts, and others may provide specialized knowledge relevant to the case.
- Percipient Witnesses: Individuals who have first-hand knowledge of the negligence or misconduct.
Role of Survivors in Depositions
In a wrongful death case, a deposition typically focuses on the nature of the relationship between the survivor (the person making the wrongful death claim) and the decedent (the person whose death was caused by the defendant’s wrongful action). Specific questions will depend on who is being deposed – is the deponent a spouse, a child, or a life partner?
Survivors may be asked about their background, their relationship with the decedent, their financial situation, and the decedent’s role in supporting or providing for them financially. It’s crucial for survivors to answer these questions as honestly and accurately as possible.
Preparing for a Deposition
Preparation is key to a successful deposition. Here are some tips:
- Understand the Process: Familiarize yourself with how depositions work. Your attorney will guide you through this process.
- Review Relevant Documents: Go over any documents related to your case, such as medical records or accident reports.
- Practice Your Testimony: Your attorney may conduct a mock deposition to help you prepare for the actual event.
An heir to the estate may be awarded damages for their grief and sorrow over the loss of support going forward, companionship, society, consortium and damages for the decedent’s pain and suffering.
The heir cannot recover for medical expenses and funeral expenses and are not liable for any debts of the decedent. If they are filing a lawsuit as the heir, and they are claiming loss of consortium, loss of support, grief and sorrow, they are most likely going to be deposed on those issues, and the defendant’s attorney is going to ask questions about the level of their grief, the support that the decedent was given and questions of that nature that can help the defendant’s insurance company argue for lower damages.
A personal representative of the decedent’s estate can also file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek special damages, which are the decedent’s medical bills, funeral expenses, and any punitive damages that the decedent would have recovered had he lived; but personal representatives are not entitled to pain and suffering damages.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a wrongful death deposition?
A wrongful death deposition is a legal proceeding where survivors or representatives of the deceased provide sworn testimony under oath. It is a crucial part of the discovery process in a wrongful death case.
Who can be deposed in a wrongful death case?
In a wrongful death case, various individuals may be deposed, including witnesses, experts, medical professionals, and parties involved in the incident that led to the death.
How long does a deposition typically last?
The duration of a deposition can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the number of individuals being deposed. On average, depositions can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
Can I refuse to answer certain questions during a deposition?
While you generally must answer questions during a deposition, there are limited circumstances where certain questions may be objected to or not answered based on legal grounds such as privilege or relevance.
How can Leverty & Associates help me during the deposition process?
Our experienced attorneys will guide you through every step of the deposition process. We will prepare you for questioning, help you understand your rights and obligations, and ensure that your interests are protected throughout.
If you have any more questions or need assistance with your wrongful death case deposition, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Leverty & Associates. We are here to provide you with expert legal representation and support during this challenging time.
At Leverty & Associates, we understand the pain and suffering that comes with losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. Our law firm is adept in handling wrongful death cases and providing compassionate support to survivors and representatives during the deposition process.
Why Choose Us?
When it comes to navigating the complexities of wrongful death depositions, you need a legal team that is experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated to fighting for justice on your behalf. Here’s why you should choose Leverty & Associates:
- Expertise: Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling wrongful death cases and are well-versed in the laws surrounding depositions.
- Compassion: We understand the emotional toll that a wrongful death case can take on survivors. We provide compassionate support throughout the entire deposition process.
- Dedication: We are committed to seeking justice for our clients and holding responsible parties accountable for their actions.
- Personalized Approach: We treat every case with individual attention, tailoring our strategies to meet the unique needs of each client.
Depositions are an integral part of wrongful death lawsuits. They provide an opportunity for both sides to gather information and build their cases. Survivors and representatives play crucial roles in these depositions. At Leverty & Associates, we understand how challenging this process can be. Our team is here to guide you through every step, ensuring your rights are protected and your voice is heard.
If you need assistance with a wrongful death case or have questions about depositions, don’t hesitate to contact us at Leverty & Associates today at (775) 322-6636 in the Reno area or at (702) 507-0201 in the Las Vegas area.