What Is The Difference Between An Interrogatory And Deposition?

Posted on: 16 March 2015

If you and your car accident lawyer have not been able to settle your claim with the insurance company, a trial is probably imminent.  In preparation for the trial, you could possibly face an interrogatory or deposition. To know what to expect, it is important that you know the difference between the two procedures. 

What Is an Interrogatory?

An interrogatory is part of the discovery process before the trial. To interrogate a witness or the other driver involved in the accident, your lawyer would send a questionnaire to him or her. The other person would be required to complete and return the form within a certain period of time.

The interrogatory is considered to be conducted under oath. Any information provided on it will be seriously reviewed by the court and the lawyers involved. 

Your lawyer can ask any question that he or she wants on the form. However, it is important to note that legally, the other party is not required to answer every question you ask. His or her lawyer could refuse to answer a question.

In the event that the other party refuses to answer a question, your lawyer can go to court and ask that he or she be compelled to respond. 

The questions that are covered on the questionnaire can include everything from personal information to questions about the evidence that the other party plans to use in the case. 

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is similar to an interrogatory in that both sides are allowed to ask questions of possible witnesses and anyone else related to the case, but there is a big difference. A deposition is completed in person and under oath. 

At the start of the deposition, the person being deposed is administered an oath. A court reporter is usually the person who administers it. Every word of the testimony provided will be noted by the reporter. 

Depositions are more intense than an interrogatory. Whereas an interrogatory gives you the option of answering questions without any real pressure, a deposition can be a stressful event. 

During the deposition, the other party's lawyer can ask you questions about the accident. He or she will be looking for any inconsistencies in your story. The lawyer could also attempt to anger or trick you during the deposition.

Whether you are facing an interrogatory or deposition, it is important that you prepare with your lawyer. Do not complete any documentation or attend the actual deposition until you have had an opportunity to review your testimony with lawyers like Hagelgans and Veronis