If a car accident has left you injured and seeking compensation from the at-fault driver, you may find yourself involved in a court case. Part of the personal injury process is discovery, where each side shares case information with each other. Among other things, discovery can often call for a formal question-and-answer session known as a deposition. You can help ease your stress about this event by knowing what to expect, so read on to learn some facts about depositions.
1. You can do yourself and your personal injury attorney a big favor by coming clean about your past before the deposition. The other side will investigate your criminal, financial, employment and personal history with the hopes of discrediting your case. Be forthcoming and allow your attorney an opportunity to be prepared for any issues that could arise during the deposition.
2. Your legal team will work with you to help you be prepared for most any question asked. Being able to confidently answer questions will likely give the other side pause and increase the chances of being offered a settlement (more on that later). Additionally, use your notes, documents and medical records to refresh yourself about the accident and the resulting medical and personal costs of the accident.
3. A deposition consists of not only your testimony, but that of all involved parties. Subpoenas may be issued to ensure attendance. The most valuable perk of a deposition, and what makes this event so important, is the potential for an offer to settle your case before it goes to court. The evidence shared through discovery, together with the testimony at the deposition, could trigger the other side to offer you a fair settlement. You should seriously consider any offer and work closely with your personal injury attorney in making a decision. Keep in mind that court cases can be time-consuming and costly, and the outcome is far from certain.
4. While a deposition is slightly less formal than a courtroom session, make no mistake that a deposition is a serious affair. All testimony is recorded, may be used in court at a later time and those found to be lying could be charged with perjury. It should be noted that no judge is present during a deposition, so any objections are simply noted for the record. This less formal style of interrogation could cause problems if the deponents are allowed to answer unasked questions or if the attorneys ask inappropriate questions that normally would not be allowed in court.
Make sure to consult with your personal car accident attorney for more information about your deposition and your role in the success of your case.