If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be soon participating in a deposition. Once your attorney has filed suit, the deposition will normally occur soon after, but before the actual court case begins to be heard. Anyone who has a connection to your personal injury case, including you, will be interrogated in a formal setting, where facts and evidence are ascertained and recorded. Be prepared for your deposition by knowing the 8 facts below.
1. Though you are not in court, all testimony in a deposition is given under oath, and, just as in court, you may be charged with perjury for being dishonest.
2. If necessary, a subpoena may be issued to compel witnesses to attend a deposition. If the witness has good reason for not attending, such as short notice, heath issues or extensive travel required, a motion to quash the subpoena may be filed.
3. Attorneys often use a deposition to observe how various deponents (those being deposed) behave while being questioned. Those who appear uneasy or nervous may need some practice sessions with a member of the legal team to appear more comfortable in court.
4. No judge is present for depositions, but the questioning follows a similar pattern of cross examinations and objections. With no judge present to rule on objections, they are simply noted in the record, and the questioning moves forward.
5. A major benefit for the plaintiff (you) in a deposition is the potential for a settlement offer from the opposing side once the evidence is heard, thus allowing you to avoid going to court completely.
6. Unlike courtroom questioning, the rules for what may be asked, and what may be answered, are more relaxed. This may present a situation where a witness rambles on and inadvertently reveals relevant information.
7. It's very important to be honest with your attorney about any behavior or financial and/or legal issues, no matter how irrelevant you may believe them to be. Deposition questioning can get very personal.
8. You can do yourself a huge favor by reviewing any pertinent documents and records prior to your deposition. If you have been keeping a written journal of your personal injury case from the time of your accident, you will now be guaranteed a payoff for your efforts to refresh your memory.
Just knowing what will happen at a deposition can go along way towards making this stressful event more manageable. Your personal injury attorney will be available to help you prepare for your deposition, and every step of the way towards a successful and positive resolution of your claim.