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Is there a parent who will testify, in a deposition or trial, in the wrongful death (or survival) case that you have?

Damages questions outline checklist for questioning the parent in wrongful death case.

When the case involves the death of a child (of whatever age) usually the plaintiff's primary witness on the wrongful death damages is a parent. You will be involved in deposition or trial damages testimony of the parent. You need a checklist.

     Testimony Checklist : Parent - Wrongful Death gives you:
  • A Checklist Outline of Damages Questions. You get an organized outline that covers the damages areas. Prevent omissions in your questioning. Of course Testimony Checklist : Parent - Wrongful Death includes questions on the standard economic or non-economic damages available in most jurisdictions.  But there's more: bystander recovery and mental anguish questions, for those cases and jurisdictions where the law allows counsel to ask them.
     
  • Time.  A good legal form saves you time. Don't reinvent the wheel, and don't waste time when you have more important things to do.
     
  • A "Best Progression". Testimony Checklist : Parent - Wrongful Death is designed to move from subject to subject in the order which is normally the best .  This list of questions starts with the subjects that fit most readily into the juror's preconceptions of what are "natural damages" and moves to those which are less likely to have been thought of beforehand by the jurors. Whether you are on the plaintiff or defense side, you ordinarily do not want to "jar" the jurors.  Use  professional judgment to change the order to fit your situation, but this form has a designed progression.  It's ready for you, now.

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During direct or cross examination of the parent of a deceased child, in a deposition or trial, for plaintiff or defendant, this form has multiple uses.

Defense counsel will use this form for a discovery deposition outline, to prevent unwelcome surprises at trial. Defense counsel wants to minimize as much as possible the emotional or factual impact of the parent's damages testimony. At trial, defense counsel must ask only the right questions (usually few in number, but watched closely by the jury). Defense counsel must be forewarned, so as to not ask the parent those questions at trial that could trigger a flood of emotional or factual events that would raise the jurors' evaluation of damages The defense trial preparation, to receive that forewarning, starts with a deposition of the parent. In that deposition which various areas can be probed to eliminate surprises at trial. The type of emotional response by the parent to defense questions, and the jury's response to the parent's response, can be gauged in the confines of the deposition room.  That's why defense counsel commonly want to "cover the waterfront". That's where a checklist is needed.

Plaintiff's counsel will use this form as a checklist for testimony by the parent at both deposition and also trial. Use this form outline of questions:

  • First, to help you prepare your client to answer the wide range of questions that the defendant may be predicted to ask at a deposition which they have initiated and noticed;

  • Second, to guide you in asking additional questions at the defense -initiated deposition, when defense counsel has concluded, to put in the deposition record helpful additional damages testimony you want to preserve or bring to the settlement table;

  • Third, to guide you in a direct examination of the client-parent at a deposition that you yourself have noticed. Noticing the deposition yourself has advantages, beyond preserving evidence. By noticing the deposition yourself, you get to ask your client the first questions at the deposition; it's your direct examination. This puts your client more at ease when later the defense starts their questioning. Doing a direct exam yourself, before the defense asks questions at the deposition, sets the emotional or factual tone you want. Importantly, the parent's deposition, correctly taken by plaintiff's counsel, can have an upward effect on the defense settlement evaluation.

  • Fourth, at trial itself, to guide you in your direct examination of the client-parent.

This is a checklist you will use again and again during the years of your litigation practice. It's a small investment that more than pays for itself even if it only saves you 15 minutes. Because of our guarantee, you have nothing to lose, and much time to gain (plus gaining the confidence that comes from having a checklist).

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