A deposition will take place during your personal injury case. In a deposition, the parties and witnesses are formally questioned and sworn under oath. Discovery is the procedure for gathering evidence, and the deposition process is a major part of that. A transcript of the deposition will be used to document the testimony.
In this article, we will explore how personal injury depositions work and what that means for your claim. By obtaining crucial information from the deposition, you can improve your chances of winning your case.
How does Deposition work in a Personal Injury Case?
Anyone who may have knowledge of your case can be deposed as a witness in your case, including:
- Officers of the law
- Experts in medicine
- Clerks who may have come into contact with papers that are pertinent
- Friends and relatives who may have witnessed or heard important details
The court has the authority to compel a deposition. Eyewitnesses who testify in court may be forced to do so by subpoena or risk penalties and perhaps jail time. A person can also file a motion with the court to contest a subpoena.
For a number of reasons, a court may relieve someone from testifying. There could be procedural flaws with the subpoena, or the person could persuade the court that testifying would be unreasonable under the circumstances, such as being given little notice or traveling more than 100 miles.
Depositions: What are They Used For?
Attorneys on both sides of a case take depositions for a variety of reasons:
- Obtain eyewitness testimony
- In order to obtain information from sources who are normally unwilling to cooperate
- To get a sneak peek of someone’s testimony before they go on the witness stand
- To present the findings of experts such as accident investigators and doctors.
Depositions are frequently held at the offices of an attorney or a court reporter. A deposition can alternatively take place in a different court-approved venue that is more suitable for the witness.
Members from both sides have the ability to question the person being deposed during the deposition. Members may just observe the questioning and may also record objections in the deposition’s official transcript.
Taking care of Depositions the Right Way
Consult your lawyer for instructions regarding the legal requirements of the deposition. When called to testify against a negligent party, here’s what you can expect. As you prepare for your deposition, expect the lawyer for the negligent party to ask you questions that will place some of the blame for the accident on you. You will be offered the opportunity to respond and object to the questions.
Your comments should be brief and factual, revealing no additional information. There are certain circumstances where you may refuse to answer a question during a deposition:
- To find out the answer, you would have to share confidential information, such as a private conversation with a mental health expert, your spouse, or a member of the clergy.
- Answering yes would constitute self-incrimination. It is your right to decline to answer a question that might jeopardize your freedom under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
- Since you believe that the inquiry is meant to annoy you, you take offense to it.
The lawyer may either rephrase the question or make an argument for why it must be answered in the third point. The court may exclude the question if you can’t reach an agreement, and you may ask the deponent to stop the deposition.
If someone finds questions bothersome, keep in mind that attorneys typically have a lot of flexibility. Thus, the deposition procedure may be emotionally exhausting for you.
In cases involving personal injuries, there is often negotiation before, during, and even after a trial. Negotiations between the parties are often back-and-forth until an agreement is reached.
It’s very common for a settlement to be reached during or after the deposition phase of a personal injury trial. Depositions are tests for the lawyers to find out if the opposition has sufficient proof to support their case.
Depositions may indicate that you have many witnesses who can testify against the opposition. Having this insight could make them more open to bargaining with their lawyer. This can also motivate them, even more, to take their case to court, hoping they will convince a judge or jury. Each party should have a better idea of the case’s relative strengths and weaknesses by the end of the deposition period.
Is a Deposition Useful for Me? What can an attorney do?
Lawyers with extensive experience in handling accident cases understand how to use depositions to protect your interests and improve your bargaining position. Depositions will be useful to your side if the matter goes to trial.
Hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience in negotiating settlements. Our team of Deldar Legal Injury Attorneys offers a free consultation with a caring and qualified attorney who knows how to handle your case.
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