How Do Depositions Typically Work in Car Accident Injury Cases?
Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful situation, and unfortunately in many cases the process that occurs afterwards does not get any easier. It is very common for one party to file a lawsuit against another in order to prove that they are liable for the incident as well as be compensated for any damages or injuries suffered. In what is known as the process of discovery both parties will legally gather information from one another in order to help build their case, and it is during this time that out-of-court testimony called a deposition is given under oath.
The testimony given in a deposition can be used as evidence once the case gets to trial in order to impact the credibility of the deponent or the one who gave the sworn testimony. This is because if the information they give in the deposition ends up being different from the testimony they give at the trial the jury will have reason to believe that either the deponent is lying or does not completely remember the events that have occurred. Either way, it is extremely important to be aware of how significant a deposition can be as being ignorant to the consequences of not being prepared for one can certainly affect how your case will end up being resolved in court.
People who Attend the Deposition
In addition to the person giving the deposition a court reporter who administers the oath will also be in attendance. In addition, all of the parties involved in the lawsuit as well as their attorneys will be present as well while a recording of the testimony and a written transcript will be taken down if requested. The judge and any court personnel involved in the case do not need to be there when this takes place although depending on the exact circumstances it may be possible.
Once you file the personal injury lawsuit it is all but certain that the other party’s attorney will ask to take your deposition. Different states have their own set of laws and guidelines on who must respond to a deposition but in general if the other party requests one you will need to follow that request. Once a mutually agreed upon time and date is decided on you should be prepared to answer various questions about yourself including personal background information. It is not mandatory to have an attorney prepare you for this process but doing so can only help you deal with this situation more effectively. Be prepared to be asked such questions as:
- Your name, address, and questions about your family
- Whether or not you were taking any medication at the time of the accident
- Your recollection of the circumstances surrounding the incident
- Where you were driving and/or if you were running late to your destination
- Was there any reason you may have been distracted when the incident occurred
- Your employment history, job duties, level of income and why you were not able to work if you are claiming any loss wages due to the accident.
No matter what, answer every question honestly and if you do not know the answer to the question then admit that as well. The questions you get asked my seem upsetting or even inappropriate but it is important to stay calm and patient throughout and answer as best as you can. If they believe you are being difficult or that you are avoiding the questions the other attorney may ask to have the judge get involved which is not something you want to happen. If the questions do seem out of line you can object to answering them which is another reason having a knowledgeable attorney prepare you for the deposition is highly recommended.
This is your opportunity to get as much information that you can to help your case, as well as get a feel of what type of witness they may be when you finally go to trial. All of the questions you would be asked that were discussed above are exactly the kind you should be asking for yourself, and getting the defendant to explain in detail the events as they see them is a high priority. Any distractions or behaviors they may have been engaged in that could have led to the accident should be discussed, as well as the details of their employer if they were working when the events happened. In addition to the main defendant make sure to depose any possible witnesses or any treating medical professionals who may have some insight to what occurred that you may be able to use later at the trial.
Consult with an Experienced Attorney About Your Deposition
This is clearly a situation that requires a qualified attorney to help get you the compensation you deserve, which is why you should contact the Paris Law Firm to represent you as soon as possible. Call us at 909-469-5127 or via our online contact form today to schedule an initial case evaluation.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.