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Can I ask to be compensated for a deposition?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
9 years ago I was in an airplane crash with a friend of mine. The crash involved an airplane that has parachute built into the aircraft which did not deploy when we tried to activate it. I was recently contacted by two attorneys who are working for the family of a man who died in a crash in the same type of airplane and they contend that he tried to activate the parachute system. Attorneys representing the airplane manufacturer had told the attorneys representing the man who died in the crash that we never tried to activate the parachute. They have asked if I would participate in a deposition. Is it reasonable to ask to be compensated for the inconvenience of participating and if so, what is a reasonable amount to ask for. I imagine it will take two or three hours.

Thanks, H_S.
post #2 of 15

I don't know what is legally acceptable, but I feel asking for your missed days pay should be a start.

 

~Kurt

post #3 of 15
Depends on the specific rules of the jurisdiction that has authority over the dep, but generally, in most jurisdictions, nothing mandates paying fact witnesses for deps. However, that doesn't mean you can't ask to be compensated and they can't agree to compensate you if they want to. If they don't agree to compensate you, they can compel you to testify by subpoena, but I imagine that would make you more hostile, and they wouldn't want that from someone whose testimony would be beneficial to their case.




***The above is not legal advice and we do not have an attorney/client relationship.
post #4 of 15
You should get paid.

While they can compel your testimony, they are going to want to prep you and talk with you ahead of time.

Charge them $300 per hour.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
What's the best way to ask for this to avoid sounding like a whore?
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by hopkins_student View Post

What's the best way to ask for this to avoid sounding like a whore?

"Can we talk about me being compensated for this."
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai View Post

You should get paid.

While they can compel your testimony, they are going to want to prep you and talk with you ahead of time.

Charge them $300 per hour.
Quote:
Originally Posted by odoreater View Post

Depends on the specific rules of the jurisdiction that has authority over the dep, but generally, in most jurisdictions, nothing mandates paying fact witnesses for deps. However, that doesn't mean you can't ask to be compensated and they can't agree to compensate you if they want to. If they don't agree to compensate you, they can compel you to testify by subpoena, but I imagine that would make you more hostile, and they wouldn't want that from someone whose testimony would be beneficial to their case.




***The above is not legal advice and we do not have an attorney/client relationship.

Further on the non-advice: a plaintiff's attorney may be reluctant to compensate a witness in this situation because (1) it creates cross-examination material and (2) if they are working on contingency, they don't want to sink money out of their own pocket. Which means you might not get anything other than whatever sucky witness fee and mileage that is required by the law.

If you have a set rate of salary or expected normal income for a work day, you might be able to talk your way into that but you certainly shouldn't expect to get $300/hour for testimony and prep time. Expert witnesses being asked to opine on issues get paid like that, but fact witnesses being deposed on their observations usually aren't going to be paid at a rate that looks like profit.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by retronotmetro View Post

Further on the non-advice: a plaintiff's attorney may be reluctant to compensate a witness in this situation because (1) it creates cross-examination material and (2) if they are working on contingency, they don't want to sink money out of their own pocket. Which means you might not get anything other than whatever sucky witness fee and mileage that is required by the law.
If you have a set rate of salary or expected normal income for a work day, you might be able to talk your way into that but you certainly shouldn't expect to get $300/hour for testimony and prep time. Expert witnesses being asked to opine on issues get paid like that, but fact witnesses being deposed on their observations usually aren't going to be paid at a rate that looks like profit.

Agreed. I'm an attorney, and if I were in the plaintiff's attorney's shoes, my biggest concern would be when the other attorney asks you (whether on cross at trial, or at the depo), "How much were you paid to be here today?"
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hmmm...my salary isn't terribly high at this point, but since I work so much my time off is pretty valuable to me. It sounds like this is going to be more of a pain in the ass than it's worth.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by hopkins_student View Post

Hmmm...my salary isn't terribly high at this point, but since I work so much my time off is pretty valuable to me. It sounds like this is going to be more of a pain in the ass than it's worth.

Do you think there's a possibility of your words helping the now dead man's family?
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yirayira View Post

Do you think there's a possibility of your words helping the now dead man's family?
I have no idea.
post #12 of 15
I am not a lawyer, and this is a question more than advice.

Any chance that you have a claim on the aircraft company (i.e. they compensate you) for expenses you incurred (medical, mental trauma etc) after you crashed (if they did not back then).

Because if the same thing happened twice, and if that 'thing' is a parachute that failed to deploy, well then....
post #13 of 15
I didn't even read this thread, but here is my knee-jerk response:

QUASH QUASH QUASH!!!!

edit: I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PipersSon View Post

I am not a lawyer, and this is a question more than advice.
Any chance that you have a claim on the aircraft company (i.e. they compensate you) for expenses you incurred (medical, mental trauma etc) after you crashed (if they did not back then).
Because if the same thing happened twice, and if that 'thing' is a parachute that failed to deploy, well then....
I really have no interest in pursuing compensation from Cirrus. My (relatively minor) medical expenses were covered by the airplane's insurance.
post #15 of 15

You can ask, but it probably won't happen.  Generally if you are subpoenaed you are entitled to travel costs (which are usually set by rule and low), but not for your time.  

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