What Happens At A Deposition For A Car Accident ?
When you sustain injuries as a result of an accident, you are entitled to compensation. So, you may be notified that you will take a deposition during a personal injury claim. There may be times when your opponent decides to depose you. Honestly speaking, the legal term “deposition”causes a great deal of anxiety to most claimants. Nevertheless, the process is not a big deal at all.
But it can be difficult to understand the deposition process without the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney. Moreover, in this state of misery, an experienced car accident injury lawyer can assist you wholeheartedly to ease your mind.
In this section, we will discuss the deposition process related to car accidents in detail.
What Is A Deposition In A Car Accident Lawsuit?
A deposition is a formal session of questions and answers that is recorded legally and called “the discovery phase”. A deposition is a legal proceeding held outside of the courthouse that involves witnesses taking oaths in front of a court reporter and lawyers. During discovery, both the plaintiff and defendant have the opportunity to examine the evidence presented by the other side.
The purpose of discovery is to ensure that both sides have time to respond to each other’s evidence. A car accident lawsuit may include depositions from plaintiff and defendant drivers, healthcare providers, first responders, and eyewitnesses who were present at the time of incident. Additionally, to resolve a car accident case, there are two types of depositions:
It is customary to hold an oral deposition that includes the deponent, lawyers for all parties, and an oath taker. Although a stenographer records the proceedings occasionally, audio recordings are the second option in his absence. There are some states that allow remote depositions via video call, or telephone to depose witnesses. A deposition must be conducted in a fair and equitable manner with mutual cooperation of all the parties.
A written deposition can also serve as a witness testimony. In the course of such a discovery, the deposing party provides a series of written questions to the deponent to answer them in written form. There is some consensus that written depositions in car accident cases are less effective than oral depositions as the deponent’s written answers cannot be clarified after they are submitted. In order to get relevant details about a case, you might consider asking follow-up questions.
Admissibility Of Deposition
Courts generally do not accept depositions as evidence as they are considered as hearsay. Nonetheless, there are some instances in which deposition testimony is used as trial evidence. It is permissible for a deponent to give a deposition in court if:
- The witness cannot give testimony in court.
- If an admitted fact in a deposition is unfavorable to the witness.
- Witnesses differ in court from what they said in their sworn depositions.
Attendees Of A Car Accident Deposition
The plaintiff (the one who is going to sue in a car accident lawsuit), the defendant (the accused), the attorneys of both parties and an oath taker. An oath is generally administered by a court reporter. Moreover, the court reporter records the testimony during the deposition and makes sure that both parties receive a copy of the transcript.
Example Of A Car Accident Deposition Question
As part of testimony, an attorney asks the deponent a series of questions under an oath during the deposition process. Eyewitnesses to a car accident can include the driver, passengers, or anyone else present at the scene. The purpose of a deposition on a car accident is usually to gather information about three things:
- About yourself ( who you are or your background)
- What caused the accident
- What kind of injuries you sustained in your car accident and what kind of treatment you received.
If you are a resident of new Jersey, you might be asked the following question under New Jersey Rule of Evidence 609 to check your credibility:
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime? In that case, what crimes have you been convicted of?
- Are you a past plaintiff or worker’s compensation claimant?
If you have been convicted in the past, this information could be used to undermine your evidence. Those who are plaintiffs in a car accident case must appear at least once during a deposition. You will be deposed by an attorney who represents the defendant ( the other driver, or the other driver’s car insurer) and during this you will have to answer a series of questions that could take a few hours. Additionally, the defendant will be given the opportunity to hope that the plaintiff has made a mistake, on record and under oath. Instead of guessing, I suggest not answering any question you don’t understand.
What Happens After The Car Accident Deposition?
Several steps can be followed after a deposition in a car accident case.
Analysis Of The Transcript Or Recordings
The transcript or audio recording accompanying the deposition is available for both parties to review afterward. Following the deposition, they will decide how to proceed. If the information provided in the deposition supports further testimony, Your attorney may decide to call for it.
Medical Examination Requests
A defendant’s lawyer might want the injured party to go for medical evaluation as part of the deposition in an accident case. Sometimes the insurance company claiming responsibility will choose the medical professional. In this scenario, your injuries will be minimized by the medical examiner to benefit your insurance company. Attorneys who specialize in car accidents know about the tactics and will ask for independent medical assessments. They also know how to handle such situations intelligently.
It is possible that the fault party makes a settlement offer after taking a deposition. As a matter of fact, insurers always try to minimize payouts in such situations. An experienced personal injury attorney evaluates the offers and accepts if it is suitable for you. Moreover, he strives hard to get you the full compensation you are entitled to. Remember, settlement offers can still be made during trial by the at-fault party.
Preparation for Trial
In some cases, depositions do not result in a suitable settlement offer made by an at-fault party. Such situations will inevitably lead to a trial. An experienced attorney will prepare your case for trial if you need to go to court. A trial preparation process involves:
- Organize your opening statement
- Decide who will be called as a witness
- Present your evidence persuasively
- If required, arrange testimony from an expert
- Finalize your closing argument
Consultation With A Car Accident Lawyer
It is inevitable that there will be hardships in life, including car accidents. An experienced car accident lawyer will be necessary if you have been in a deposition after a car accident. Only he can assist you to recover your loss. If you are in New Jersey and seeking an experienced and senior lawyer for your deposition, contact a car accident lawyer by Rosengard law group. For assistance or questions regarding this, please call us at 856-284-6446 to receive a free review you can also visit us at our Office. We will review the details and determine the best course of action.