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What to Expect at a Car Accident Deposition
When you have been hurt in a car accident and seek compensation for your injuries and losses, you assume many roles, as undesirable or unexpected as they may be. You are a victim of someone else’s careless or reckless conduct. You are a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit. And you are a witness. You saw how the accident happened and know the impact it has had on your health, your finances, and your family. As a witness, you will more likely than not have to appear for a deposition. But what is a deposition and what can you expect when that day comes?
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is an opportunity for the attorneys involved in a case to question a witness under oath before trial to learn what they know and what they would say if they were called to testify before a judge or jury. It is part of the “discovery” process that is an element of almost every personal injury lawsuit.
As the name implies, “discovery” refers to the various ways that parties to a lawsuit discover potentially relevant information, develop evidence to support their position, and investigate the facts surrounding the accident and extent of the claimed injuries. Discovery includes not only depositions of parties and other witnesses, but it also involves the exchange and review of documents, as well as the asking and answering of written questions (called “interrogatories”).
Where Will Your Deposition Be Held and Who Will Be There?
Depositions are usually, but not always, held at the offices of one of the attorneys or in some other mutually agreed-upon location, such as a hotel conference room. You will be there along with your attorney and the lawyers for each defendant and the lawyers for any other plaintiffs. The defendant or other parties may show up to listen to your testimony, but that is the exception rather than the rule in most car accident cases.
A court reporter will also be at the deposition, swearing you in before your testimony and transcribing every word spoken by you and the attorneys. A videographer may also be there recording the deposition. It is important to understand that you are testifying under oath and penalties of perjury in a deposition just as if you were testifying in a courtroom in front of a judge and jury.
Questions, Answers, and Objections
The defendant’s lawyer will ask you lots of questions about yourself, the incident, and your injuries. He or she may also ask questions that seem to be invasive or irrelevant. If your attorney feels that a question is improper, they may object.
Unlike what you see at a trial, there is no judge present to sustain or overrule an attorney’s objection, and lawyers are given a fairly wide berth to ask questions at a deposition that would be inappropriate at trial. As such, your lawyer may object and then direct you to answer the question anyway. He or she will make the objection in case the defense wants to use your deposition testimony at trial. At that point, the attorneys will argue the validity of the objection before the judge.
Your car accident injury lawyer should prepare you for your deposition in advance. Preparation does not mean giving you answers or telling you what to say. Instead, he or she will instruct you on the importance of carefully listening to the question that’s being asked and remind you to answer only the question that’s being asked rather than volunteering information.
Depositions are an essential part of any car accident lawsuit, and a good personal injury lawyer will have you prepared, comfortable, and confident to go when it comes time for you to appear for yours.
Contact Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, please reach out to the Tampa car accident lawyers at our firm today. We have a long track record of success obtaining compensation for Florida car accident victims and will be by your side every step of the way.
Speak with a Tampa car wreck attorney today. Contact us online to arrange for your free initial consultation and case evaluation. We look forward to assisting you.