Generally, no. He can ask whatever he wants. It’s part of being a lawyer.
But you are usually better off answering the tough questions anyway.
I can keep you from having to answer some questions, if they are unusually intrusive, invade your privacy, or are irrelevant.
You shouldn’t have to answer questions about old, unrelated injuries. About some embarrassing personal facts. And if I think the other attorney is trying to intimidate you by asking irrelevant and embarrassing questions, I object.
But there is a lot that can be relevant. A theft conviction in the last 10 years – by law – has been determined to relate to the question of whether a witness is telling the truth. Prescription histories can relate to whether you are suffering from pain as a result of the accident in question, or a prior injury.
I have strenuously objected to a wife’s being asked questions about her husband’s financial history, as a witness in his personal injury case. She didn’t answer many questions in that deposition, because I objected to so many of them, and told her not to answer them.
At the same time, it put me on notice that the trucking company knew some things that were going to come out at trial.
So why would it be better to answer a question than not? First, the other side will nearly always find out whatever they want about you anyway – through medical records, or job records, or witness interviews, or privately requested background checks.
Second, when you refuse to answer questions you are tipping the other side off as to what you think is important about your case.
And more important, by not answering the question you give the appearance that you are worried about the answer.
In my opinion, you are usually better off just letting the truth come out, and acting like you are comfortable with it.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I have fought for years over whether questions have to be answered, and whether records have to be disclosed. If you’ve been hurt by a truck, give me a call. My phone is 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.