The Trial Before The Trial: Personal Injury Depositions

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If you have been injured in a car wreck, you may now be filing suit against the at-fault party. Knowing what will happen can help ease your stress somewhat, and most personal injury cases proceed in a relatively similar manner. The deposition is an important, and somewhat intimidating, legal event, but its outcome can influence your personal injury case dramatically. Read on to learn more about depositions and what you can expect at yours.

1. Depositions are usually held soon after you have filed suit and your court date has been scheduled. This meeting is timed to take place prior to any courtroom sessions, since it is part of the process known as "discovery." Discovery allows both sides in a law suit an opportunity to view and learn about the evidence before the trial begins.

2. The attendees to your deposition will include the attorneys for both sides, you, any witnesses to the event, medical personal, and more. All deponents (those being questioned) will be questioned about the events of the accident, just as if on trial.

3. You can help your case and your attorney by preparing for the deposition. Review your notes, documents and information because some time may have passed since your accident. Make sure that you are honest with your attorney about any criminal, employment or financial issues prior to the deposition. The other side will do an investigation, and you don't want your attorney to be blindsided by the opposing side.

4. Depositions are similar to a trial in that deponents are questioned under oath, and dishonesty could lead to criminal charges. Subpoenas may be issued for those who must attend the deposition. Unlike a true court case, however, no judge presides over the deposition and attorneys are given far more leeway in questioning deponents than would be allowed in court. It's vital that you understand that all testimony given in a deposition can be used at the trial.

5. One of the main functions of the deposition is to allow the opposing side to preview what a court case would look like. This preview can include how certain witnesses behave while being questioned and the validity of eye witness testimony. Since discovery also involves a sharing of physical evidence with the other party, the presence of convincing accident reports, a video of the accident and medical records often combine to form a prediction for the outcome of a court case. Given this evidence, an offer to settle may occur during or after a deposition.

For more information about depositions and how to prepare for one, talk to a car accident lawyer like those at Master Weinstein Moyer PC.