Any tips on deposing the defendant driver in a PI case? I’m plaintiff’s counsel.

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I’m an associate at a large insurance defense firm in Austin, TX. I’ve defended a massive amount of depos of drivers and I’ve seen good and bad. I think the best Plaintiffs attorneys sit down with a case skeleton. Put the elements of your cause of action, likely negligence, negligence per se, and gross negligence. Fill in what you need for each element. Keep a clean record. I always organize my depos by topics: (1) Intro; (2) Background; (a) education; (b) criminal; (c) job history; (3) Current job; (a) safety training/policies; (b) prior issues; (4) accident. Be polite and cordial. It does not have to be in that order. You catch more bees with honey. Most importantly, LISTEN. My clients drop nuggets of negligence that attorneys too tied to an outline miss. With any depo, know why you’re taking it. Go through their discovery responses. On a lot of PI cases, the defense attorney is so overwhelmed with cases they barely go over the disco responses with their client. You can burn them with that. Also, you can use Reptile tactics (a worthwhile read if you haven’t checked it out) and get clients to agree to broad theme statements: “You agree that drivers have a duty to drive safely” “When a driver is unsafe, it puts other drivers at risk” etc. Good luck!

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This is great advice and honestly I’m happy to see it’s coming from someone who is on the opposite side of the bar. Thank you.

Case is a rear end collision with major medical bills upwards of half a million dollars. Driver was in the scope of employment at the time driving a huge freight liner. We have claims for vicarious liability and negligent hiring of Defendant.

Half million dollar case? Nice! Are you second chair?

If it isnt intruding on your privacy, why are you not interested in taking it to trial? I’d think a case with 500k in specials would be likely to pull a 1-2mil verdict at trial.

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We deposed the driver now the next deposition is someone from the company who hired the driver. We have a claim for respondent superior and direct negligence.

(1) your question is very broad, (2) other plaintiffs’ counsel would be ill advised to lay out any meaningful strategy for you here where the dark side is also reading. Reach out to your local (or statewide) plaintiffs bar. If you’d like to talk general strategy, you’re welcome to call me at 9196160603.

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