Depositions are a crucial part of the discovery process in any personal injury lawsuit. During a deposition, the involved parties are questioned under oath by the opposing party’s attorney. This blog post will provide an overview of what a deposition is. You’ll also learn what to expect during a deposition and how depositions can impact a personal injury case.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is a legal proceeding outside of the courtroom where witnesses or parties involved in a lawsuit provide sworn testimony. Their purpose is to gather evidence and information that can be used during the trial or settlement negotiations. Depositions are typically conducted in a lawyer’s office or a conference room. A court reporter will record the testimony.
It is important to note that deposition testimony is different from trial testimony. In a trial, attorneys question witnesses before a judge and jury. Their testimony is subject to cross-examination by both parties’ attorneys. In a deposition, the witness is likewise under oath. But only their counsel, the opposing attorney, and a court reporter are otherwise present.
What Happens at a Deposition?
During a deposition, the opposing party’s attorney will ask questions to the witness or party being deposed. The questions can cover a wide range of topics related to the case, including the underlying facts, the witness’s personal history, and any relevant documents or evidence.
To prepare for a deposition, you and your attorney should review all relevant documents and evidence related to the case. These documents can include medical records, police reports, and witness statements. Additionally, practicing your answers to likely questions can help you feel more confident during the deposition.
A court reporter will be present to record the questions and answers. This is important because the testimony can be used as evidence during the trial or settlement negotiations.
How Depositions Affect a Personal Injury Case
Depositions are crucial in gathering evidence and information in a personal injury case. The testimony obtained during a deposition can strengthen or weaken a case and play a significant role in settlement negotiations or at trial.
During a deposition, your attorney can ask the defendant questions designed to uncover new information or clarify facts related to the case. This can help them solidify the defendant’s fault and strengthen your compensation case.
Attorneys can use the testimony they obtain during depositions in several ways. First, they can use it to support or challenge the arguments made by both parties during settlement negotiations. For example, if a witness provides testimony that supports your version of events, your attorney may use that information to negotiate a better settlement offer on your behalf. Alternatively, if a defendant says something that undermines their credibility, your lawyer can use that to weaken their case and show that their other testimony is suspect.
Deposition testimony can also be read into the court record at trial if the witness cannot testify in person. This can help your attorney build a more robust case on your behalf.
Examples of Depositions in Action
Here are a few examples of how depositions can impact a personal injury case:
In a car accident case, a deposition of a witness who saw the accident may reveal new information about how fast the vehicles were going or what they did just before the collision. This testimony could help strengthen the injured party’s case or challenge the testimony of the opposing party’s witnesses.
In a slip and fall case, a deposition of the property owner or manager may reveal that they were aware of a hazardous condition but failed to take steps to correct it. Such testimony would demonstrate the property owner’s negligence and support the injured party’s claim for damages.
In a medical malpractice case, a deposition of the defendant doctor may reveal that their treatment of the plaintiff did not conform to the accepted standards of care. The attorney could use that testimony to demonstrate the doctor’s negligence and support the plaintiff’s claim for damages.
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At Harris Keenan & Goldfarb, we aim to get injured New Yorkers like you the maximum money possible from the people who hurt them. We’ve been so successful in that mission that we’ve recovered $500 million in settlements and verdicts to date. Find out what we can do when you contact us for a consultation with a New York personal injury lawyer.