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Depositions-Don’t Go In Unprepared

A deposition occurs in litigation. Witnesses, named parties (plaintiffs and defendants), experts (doctors, engineers, people with special knowledge) are all likely to have their depositions taken prior to a mediation, arbitration or trial in a lawsuit. The deposition is in effect an interrogation. That is frightening. The opposing party’s attorney will have a chance to ask you anything that is reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. That is a vast possibility of questions for the non-lawyer, anything “reasonably calculated”.

As an attorney, I have an obligation to provide my client the tools necessary to understand and succeed in deposition against a seasoned law expert, opposing counsel. We call this preparing the witness.
An attorney’s client should never go into a deposition with fears they don’t know how to handle. Client’s should clearly understand how to answer the types of questions lawyers will ask. Depositions are not customary environments where typical conversation occurs. Attorneys talk funny, and they may ask you questions in a way you are unfamiliar. An attorney that properly prepares their client may have a client that is still afraid of being deposed but the client will also have enough tools and knowledge to understand the issues, questions, language, and dialogue and how to ask clarifying questions of the attorney interrogating them.
When an attorney fails to properly prepare their client (a process that in our practice can take no less than five hours and sometimes days) is an attorney who is failing their client and ultimately the merits of the case may suffer. The preparation for deposition should begin days in advance of the client’s deposition to allow the client to ask questions about the process and their participation. The days between meeting with the client and the actual deposition taking place give the client time to digest and develop questions that their attorney can then help them with prior to the day of the deposition.
The more difficult the case, the severity of injuries involved, the complexity of the law and or the facts, will often require more preparation time with the client and never less than 3-5 hours. In bike and motorcycle crash cases the facts can often be difficult and are often highly disputed. Anytime serious injuries are involved and the client has been hurt physically and especially emotionally, be prepared to spend hours preparing with your attorney for your upcoming deposition.
Don’t go in unprepared. Don’t survive the crash to get killed in deposition or at trial. Preparation is key.

Regulate the Car and Truck Manufacturing Industry to Reduce Motorcycle and Bicycle Crashes?

If you have driven a car in the last few months you have probably noticed the alarming number of crashes involving motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles. This past weekend there was a Smart Car that hit and ran over a motorcyclist on Mopac in Friday traffic. In the 4900 block of 2222 on Saturday July 13, 2013 around 8:30 pm another serious motorcycle crash. Crash statistics on motorcycle accidents in Austin seem relentlessly on the rise yet last year’s studies indicated motorcycle crash statistics in Austin, Texas were slowing down. The constant and agonizing question is how to reduce these incidents. Is Google car the answer? Can Google glass alert drivers of impending doom at a lesser price than buying the car? Can we force auto manufacturers through legislation to address this issue with sensors? Wait? What? More regulation?

Yes, I said it. More regulation. Cars and trucks can be equipped with sensors very inexpensively. The cost of lives, lawsuits and healthcare for serious and catastrophic injuries would slow to such a grinding halt I am nearly certain plaintiff and defense lawyers alike would move to halt such legislation and for once democrats and republicans might find themselves in the same bed with the same auto makers, a tryst to be remembered. But, why not? Most high end cars have sensors that tell the driver if they are about to hit the trash cans at the end of the driveway. Why not insert them around the perimeter of newly manufactured vehicles that would in effect alert the driver. The only time the system would fail is if the driver were truly asleep at the wheel. What do you think? Is this sort of forward thinking about saving lives good or no good?

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