What Happens At Deposition In A Personal Injury Case?
Posted in Personal Injury on November 9, 2020
Depositions are a valuable part of the “discovery phase” of a personal injury lawsuit. Depositions are an opportunity for both sides to question any possible witnesses who have information that could be pertinent to the case at hand.
Attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant have the opportunity to ask witnesses about the facts and circumstances surrounding the case.
Depositions are scheduled to happen at a specific time, place, and date, as agreed upon by all parties involved. Any person who needs to give a deposition will know in advance. Depositions take place after a lawsuit has been filed but before the trial takes place.
If you receive a notice that you need to submit to a deposition, you will be required to participate, and the deposition will be given under oath. This means that you are required to give truthful answers to the best of your ability, and anything you say any deposition will be recorded and can be used in court later.
Before the deposition
Before a deposition takes place, you will want to work with a personal injury attorney to prepare for the process. You should already know the pertinent facts related to the case (at least as you know it). However, being questioned by an attorney is another matter entirely.
You will need to review all records prior to the deposition. An attorney will help you prepare for the question, possibly by setting up a “mock deposition” to mimic how a real one will feel. There is no getting around the fact that depositions can seem intimidating for many people, so preparing in advance is crucial.
You should get a good night’s sleep before the deposition, and come to the deposition dress as if you are testifying in court. The opposing side’s counsel will be attempting to size you up as a witness, so you want to give the best impression possible.
During the deposition
A deposition may seem like a simple procedure – a series of questions asked by the opposing counsel that you will have to answer. However, the potential consequences of a deposition are anything but “simple.”
First, you should always have your attorney present when giving a deposition. Your attorney will be able to help through any stressful questions you receive. The opposing counsel may ask questions that make you mad or get you flustered, but it is best to avoid any displays of frustration towards the opposing counsel or any other party involved.
Everything you say during the deposition will be under oath, and it is best to confine yourself to answering only the questions asked and to not give any information that is not directly asked. Never guess at any answers that you are not sure that you know the answers to.
Simply say you do not know or that you do not remember. Regardless of the tactics used by the opposing lawyer, try to avoid becoming defensive or angry. Do your best to remain calm.
Attorneys are permitted to ask witnesses a wide variety of questions pertaining to various subject matters. They can also ask questions that are not necessarily directly related to the lawsuit. Attorneys can ask questions that they think could lead to other evidence relevant to the case.
After the deposition
After a deposition takes place, the court reporter who was present in the deposition will prepare a written transcript. Copies will be sent to everybody involved, and the transcript will be reviewed for mistakes or inconsistencies. Your attorney will evaluate the deposition and give you an assessment.
The written transcript of the deposition may be used in a potential personal injury trial. While these depositions are not considered part of the public record, they could become public when they are filed with the court. Many people who are deposed end up having to testify at a trial.