Have you recently filed a personal injury lawsuit and are now being told that the other party’s attorney wants your deposition? Are you confused about what a personal injury deposition is? The U.S. Department of Justice cites that in 2005 over 60% of all civil trials were personal injury cases. But despite the commonality, many aspects of personal injury cases remain mysterious to the general public, especially when it comes to understanding the purpose of a personal injury deposition.
What Is a Personal Injury Deposition?
In all civil lawsuits, both sides have the right to ask for the deposition of the opposite party.
- A personal injury deposition allows the opposing lawyer to ask you a series of verbal questions designed to discover what you know about the case.
- You will not have to face the opposing attorney by yourself. You will be represented by your attorney during the deposition and a court reporter, like a court report, will be responsible for recording everything that is said during the deposition.
- Typically, the deposition occurs after you’ve filed your case but before the actual trial begins.
How Serious Is a Personal Injury Deposition?
There is a difference between a deposition and sitting down for a conversation with your attorney. During your deposition:
- You will be under oath; you must swear to tell the truth and you can face counts of perjury if you are caught lying.
- Your deposition can be used as evidence at trial.
- If a trial is believed to be likely, they may even film your deposition so that it can be entered into the trial.
Why Is a Deposition Necessary?
Your personal injury claim might be settled out of court, which means it may never go to trial. If this is the case, your deposition will be the only time you are allowed to testify about the events of your accident. However, the opposing lawyer will also be looking at your deposition as a way to discredit you, which is why it is essential for you to have a personal injury attorney representing you at the deposition. Both the lawyers and interested insurance parties will use the deposition as a way to evaluate your credibility and look for any contradictions in testimony you might give at your trial.
Who Will Be Required to Give a Deposition?
With very few exceptions, the opposing lawyer can request a deposition of any person who has familiarity with the facts surrounding the lawsuit. Many individuals find depositions to be stressful and would rather avoid them, but the opposing lawyer can subpoena them to give their testimony.
What Type of Conduct Is Expected?
During a deposition, you should conduct yourself as you would during your trial, because your behavior can later be used to evaluate your character during your potential trial. Act respectfully and do not allow yourself to become angry or hostile during questioning. Try to answer honestly and do not willingly provide more information than you are being asked to provide.
Ultimately, it is easy to become nervous when you have been requested to give a deposition for your case. But try to remember that your deposition can actually help your case by shedding light on the ways that the other party was to blame for your injury. Any confusion about the personal injury deposition should be communicated to your personal injury attorney so that your attorney can continue to ensure that you are able to provide the deposition most helpful to your case.