An accident deposition doesn't happen for everyone. Sometimes, the case settles out of court and never makes it to the discovery phase of the trial. However, a deposition can be a stressful event for those who are taking their case to court. Knowing what to expect can often relieve some of that stress.
Discovery and Depositions
Preparing for a trial can take more time than the trial itself. Discovery procedures call for both the plaintiff (the victim) and the defendant (the other driver and their insurance company) to share evidence with each other. This sharing consists of several exercises, one of which is a deposition.
Depositions are meetings that usually take place in a conference room at a law firm. They don't require much room because only a few people are in the room at one time. The lawyers for each side are present, as well as a court reporter, and the person being deposed. Depositions take anywhere from an hour to several days, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of people involved. The following people are often expected to testify at the deposition, though it varies:
- The accident victim
- The other driver
- First responders like law enforcement, firemen, and emergency medical personnel
- Doctors who treated the victim
- Accident scene experts
- Eyewitnesses to the accident
- Economic and vocational experts
What to Expect During a Deposition
Those providing testimonies are sworn in and seated at a conference table. Your personal injury lawyer will not only be present to help you, but they will also be doing some of the questioning. You will be asked about the accident, your medical treatment, your losses, and more. In most cases, the questioning begins with some general questions about your family, job, and other background information.
The lawyer for the other side will ask you questions at some point. Ask your personal injury lawyer about what to expect. They can give you an idea of what to expect based on what the parties are in disagreement about. For example, if the other side is disputing that you are permanently injured by the accident, the questioning will focus on your medical treatment, your everyday struggles with your disability, your previous job, your salary, and more.
Tips to Follow
Take your time when answering questions. You are being recorded and you should think carefully before you speak. If you don't have the answer to a question, it's okay to say that you don't know. Never speculate. You can better answer questions by reviewing your accident information, medical records, and any notes about the accident you have made.
Speak to your car accident lawyer to find out more.