Filing suit for a personal injury claim is a process, and few steps in that process are as important as the deposition. This event usually occurs once you have officially filed suit, but prior to your actual trial's beginning. The deposition is part of the personal injury litigation process that encompasses the discovery phase, where each side interviews all involved parties and most witnesses. Knowing what to expect can help ease your mind about this important step, so read on for 8 facts you need to know about depositions.
1. Depositions treat the testimony of the participants much the same way that the court system does; you must be sworn in under oath, and lying is considered to be perjury. All testimony given at a deposition may be used in court.
2. Just as in court, subpoenas are used to order a subject to appear and be interviewed at the deposition. Subpoenas may be "quashed," however, if the subject lives too far away or is in poor heath, if too little notice was given, and for any other valid reasons.
3. A deponent's behavior during questioning can be a valuable preview of future courtroom behavior. For nervous (but valuable) witnesses, for example, attorneys may employ a witness preparation expert, if necessary.
4. Depositions follow the same basic pattern as court, with questioning, objections and cross examinations. While there will be attorneys and court stenographers present, there will be no judge. Objections are noted by the stenographer, and the questioning resumes.
5. The absence of a judge at a deposition can mean a less structured question-and-answer style, which may or may not be to your advantage. For example, a judge would likely put a stop to continuously inappropriate questions, while at a deposition, the deponent may be allowed to ramble on or accidentally blurt out relevant or previously unknown facts about the case.
6. Complete honesty with your attorney prior to the deposition is vital. You should be prepared for intensely personal questioning and a thorough check of your criminal and financial background.
7. Use your notes, medical records and reports from the accident to refresh your memory prior to the deposition. You may be allowed to have your notes with you when being questioned.
8. Often, the other side will offer you a settlement after reviewing the facts of the case and the evidence given at the deposition. The decision to accept an offer should be discussed with your personal injury attorney, keeping in mind that a settlement can be quicker and less expensive than court, but may be of a lesser amount.
A deposition is too important a procedure to attempt without proper knowledge and preparation. Count on your personal injury attorney to guide you through this important part of the personal injury process and toward a successful offer of compensation or court ruling. For more information, contact Large & Associates Attorneys or a similar firm.
Hello, I'm Christina Miller. Have you ever been fascinated with why the law works the way it does? Ever since I was in junior high, I had an intense interest in anything related to our legal system, whether it be a crime drama on television, a judge show or a legal case covered on the news. I followed it all. As time progressed, I began learning about how the actual legal system worked and not just the fictionalized version of our legal system. This has lead me to start writing my own blog posts about law that I hope will help others.