After your car accident, you may have contacted a lawyer and hoped that the insurance company would settle quickly. After months of negotiating, you were finally forced to file a personal injury lawsuit. Now, the defense attorney representing the insurance company is asking that you participate in a deposition. What is a deposition in a personal injury lawsuit?
A deposition is a type of interview that is used by lawyers in litigation to learn or “discover” information about a case. It is a part of the “discovery” process, which is a period of time between the filing of the lawsuit and trial when each side can ask the other side questions and request paperwork to discover evidence that would help their case.
A deposition is a standard part of a lawsuit and usually both the plaintiff (the person who filed the lawsuit) and the defendant (the person responding to the lawsuit) are interviewed in depositions or “deposed” by the lawyers on the opposite side. The lawyers on both sides can also request to depose other individuals with knowledge relating to the case.
When you receive a Notice of Deposition, you will have to appear at a specific place and time to be interviewed by the defense attorney. Depositions are usually held at the office of one of the lawyers handling the lawsuit. A court reporter will be present so a record can be made of your testimony. Your testimony is also given under oath and you will be asked by the court reporter at the beginning to swear that you will tell the truth. Under certain circumstances your testimony could be used against you at trial.
In a deposition, the opposing lawyer will ask you questions first regarding your background and the details related to the accident and your injuries. Your lawyer will be present and has the right to object to the questions for certain reasons, but there is no judge present at the deposition. For this reason, attorney objections are just noted for the record and most of the time you will have to answer the question anyway.
The lawyer “taking” the deposition or interviewing the deponent can ask any questions they want even if they don’t seem relevant. A deposition can take hours and sometimes will stretch into the next day with reasonable breaks. A good personal injury lawyer will prepare his client well before a deposition to ensure the best outcome.
A deposition is a standard part of a personal injury case, but it makes a lot of people nervous. For that reason, it is important to have an experienced litigator by your side. The San Francisco attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP have years of experience litigating difficult cases and preparing their clients for depositions. Our goal is to help our clients and their families receive the maximum award possible for their pain and suffering. You can reach one of our California personal injury attorneys at 888.777.1776, or you can contact us online.