Interrogatories and depositions in civil cases

Nobody really wants to get involved in litigation — but it happens. You have to protect your interests, whether you’re in business, a property owner, the victim of someone’s negligence or more. When the other party refuses to be reasonable or accept their liability, you have no choice but to move forward with the discovery process in your case.

That means eventually dealing with interrogatories and depositions. Here’s what you should probably know before you get started:

What’s an interrogatory?

Interrogatories are usually an early part of the discovery process in a civil case. They are written questions surrounding the specifics of your case and anything else that might be relevant. Your answers will help inform the other party’s requests for evidence and their strategy, so you need to be clear and careful.

Your interrogatory answers are written and signed under oath, so you don’t want to answer any questions that are unclear or objectionable without consulting carefully with your attorney.

What’s a deposition?

Somewhat later in the discovery process, you may be asked to give a deposition. During a deposition, you will be placed under oath and subjected to questions by the other party’s attorney. A record is kept of the proceedings.

The purpose of a deposition is manifold:

● The other party wants to gain more detailed information about your background, the factors in the case and other details.
● The other party wants to lock you into your statements so they can look for weak points or attack inconsistencies.
● The other party wants to see how well you can handle yourself on the witness stand or under pressure.

The success of your case could ride on how well you handle these two steps, so don’t try to handle them on your own. Experienced legal help is invaluable.

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