What is a Deposition in a Motorcycle or Car Accident Case

This year golf’s US Open is at Shinnecock Hills for the first time since 2004.  Back then, the USGA lost control of the course maintenance and it resulted in frustrated players and uncontrollable golf shots.  This year, the course is still very difficult and even Tiger Woods played his first hole horribly on day one.  Some of those shots led to Wendy’s restaurant poking some fun at him: Wendy’s Twitter Jab Against Tiger.

Similar to the USGA, drivers in our community sometimes lose control of their vehicles which results in an accident.  If you have been injured in a motorcycle or car accident, you should meet with an attorney and discuss the facts of the case, your injuries, and have the lawyer provide you with a detailed process of how the case could proceed going forward.  Some cases settle with the insurance company before a lawsuit is filed.  However, in a lot of cases the commencing of a lawsuit is necessary in order to try and prove your case and its value.

During the case, there are several times your lawyer will need help with directly from you, the client.  Those instances are generally limited.  However, they include the initial consultation, responding to written discovery, preparing for and attending your deposition, and attending any trial.  This post discusses the deposition process and what you should expect.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is the process of giving sworn evidence.  Once a lawsuit is filed, lawyers from both sides of the case have the right to conduct a formal investigation (deposition) to determine the facts of the case.  When you are deposed, you are giving testimony, under oath, about the accident and your injuries.  The oath that you take before your deposition is the same oath that you would take if you were in court with a judge and is subject to the same penalties of perjury.  Thus, you are required to tell the truth.

A deposition gives lawyers on both sides of the case a chance to gain information about your case.  This information helps the lawyers place a value on the case, and also assists them in devising a strategy if the case goes to trial.

In a deposition, the opposing lawyer will ask you questions about the accident and your injuries. Most depositions are not done inside the courtroom, but in a lawyer’s office.  At the deposition, you can expect the opposing lawyer and a court reporter to be present.  The court reporter will by typing down everything that is said by anyone in the room.

Your lawyer will also be present and sit next to you during the deposition.  Prior to the deposition, your lawyer should meet with you for a thorough preparation.  This linked article gives some good advise about how to prepare for your deposition, and how to act when you are at the deposition: Ten Things you Should Know Before Your Deposition in Your Personal Injury Case.

What Kinds of Questions Will You Be Asked?

Some of the general questions that you can expect include the following:

  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • Address
  • Work History
  • Medical History
  • Educational Background
  • How the Accident Happened
  • What Are Your Injuries
  • Were There Any Witnesses to The Accident
  • Did You Speak to the Witnesses
  • Did You See a Doctor
  • Were You Treated
  • How Extensive Were Your Injuries
  • Have You Been Able to Return to Work
  • Will You Need Ongoing Treatment
  • How Has the Injury Changed Your Life

Depending on how extensive your injuries are stemming from the accident, the deposition could take anywhere from one hour to several hours.

As a final thought, it is important to remember that you should be truthful no matter what.  Even if you believe something truthful will hurt your case, it is better to be up front about that information now, rather than down the road after you’ve said something contradictory later.  This could result in a jury disbelieving everything you said, even if you were only untruthful about that once piece of information initially.

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