Losing a loved one in a collision often causes not only emotional trauma but also significant financial losses. As such, people that lose family members in accidents will often seek compensation from the party responsible for the crash. In many fatal car accident cases, the defendant driver will be the sole surviving witness. As such, the courts will typically uphold the plaintiff’s right to take the defendant’s deposition despite their objections, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Florida court. If you suffered the loss of a loved one in a fatal car crash, it is smart to meet with a Cape Coral car accident lawyer to assess your rights.
Factual Background of the Case
It is reported that the defendant college employed the defendant driver. The defendant driver was transporting a school athletic team to an event in a van when he made a wrong turn into oncoming traffic. The decedent’s vehicle struck the van, causing the decedent to suffer fatal injuries. As such, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting wrongful death claims.
It is alleged that the plaintiff moved to compel the defendant driver’s deposition. The attorney for the defendants responded by filing a motion for a protective order on the grounds that the defendant driver could not sit for a deposition or testify in his own defense because he suffered severe physical and mental harm in the accident. The plaintiff objected to the defendant driver’s motion, stating that precluding her from deposing him would greatly impair her claims and that it was not warranted under the circumstances.
A Plaintiff’s Right to Depose a Party
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that a court may issue a proactive order shielding a party from undue embarrassment, oppression, expense, or burden if the party seeking the order demonstrates it is warranted. Specifically, the moving party must establish, with particularity, that they will sustain losses if they are not protected by the court. Put another way, they cannot simply rely on speculation and vague assertions but must set forth facts supporting their request.
The court will evaluate numerous factors to determine if the moving party has demonstrated just cause for granting the order. Further, in cases in which a party seeks to prohibit a deposition, they will typically have to demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances warrant the relief they are requesting. Here, the defendant merely alleged that he may suffer mental distress and psychological trauma if he was forced to sit for a deposition. The court determined that this was inadequate to establish his motion should be granted. Thus, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
Confer with a Seasoned Florida Attorney
Reckless driving is one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents, and parties that cause fatal crashes should be held legally responsible. If your loved one was killed in a fatal car accident, you may be owed damages, and you should confer with an attorney. The seasoned Florida car accident lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are mindful of the devastation fatal collisions can cause, and if you hire us, we will zealously pursue any damages you may be owed. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 800-283-7442 to set up a meeting.