If you’ve been injured in a car accident and if you’ve decided to press charges, you should expect a deposition hearing notice by the defendant’s attorney soon. Depositions usually occur during the litigation stage of the legal process. After deposition, the insurance company of the driver at-fault may make a settlement offer, which you can choose to accept or reject. Before making a decision, you should consult with your attorney. If you have been injured in a car accident and have no spoken with an experienced car accident lawyer, it is highly recommended that you do so as soon as possible.
What Are the Prerequisites for a Deposition?
The following process would likely have taken place already before you attend a deposition.
- The filing of a personal injury lawsuit by your lawyer against the driver or drivers responsible for the accident that caused you injuries.
- Summons and a copy of your complaint will be served on the defendants- the at-fault drivers and their legal representatives.
- The defendant may refer the complaint to his or her insurance company.
- The defense attorney will file an official reply to the complaint filed by your attorney.
- The defense attorney will send interrogatories- a written questionnaire asking for details of the car accident, details about your injuries, and the damages you are seeking.
- The defense counsel will schedule your deposition after confirming your availability for a specific date and time.
A knowledgeable and skilled St. Louis auto accident lawyer can help you through the litigation process and caution you on the next steps you may need to take.
What to Expect in a Car Accident Deposition?
Depositions are oral proceedings and basically mean the gathering of information outside of court. A deposition is not however a formalized legal procedure which means that it will not happen in a courtroom. Depositions usually happen in either of the attorneys’ offices or at the place of business of a court reporter. There is also no judge or jury present. The gathering will mostly include the defense counsel who will ask you questions during the deposition, your attorney who will be allowed to cross-examine you, and the court reporter whose duty it is to record what each party has to say and create a written transcript.
The Purpose of a Deposition
Depositions are usually conducted to gather as much information from the opposing party in order to increase the chances of winning the trial. The deponent is under an oath while being deposed and is required to answer all questions truthfully.
If you’re the plaintiff in a trial, you’ll be asked questions by your attorney first and then cross-questioned by the defendant’s attorney. However, depositions differ in this respect. In a deposition, you’ll be asked questions by the defendant’s attorney first. Questions may include the speed at which you were driving at the time of the accident, whether you were on any medication, whether you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, etc.
At times the questions might not seem relevant to the matter at hand, but you should answer every question with patience. Even though a deposition will give you the chance to tell your side of the story, it is extremely important that you do so with absolute honesty. Do not resort to giving knee-jerk answers or what may seem like the right answers at the time because this testimony will be used later in court. If nothing else, it is the defendant’s motive to catch you on a lie at the actual trial and thus prove that your word cannot be trusted in front of the jury.
The deposition testimony can be used against you later, so you need to be very careful with the information you provide at a deposition. An experienced St. Louis auto accident lawyer can help ensure that you are thoroughly prepared for your deposition and also guide you on bringing your case to a satisfactory conclusion.
If you have been injured in a St. Louis car accident, give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361–4242 for a FREE case evaluation.