We’ve heard the term before, but what does deposition mean in this context? Most car accident claims are settled at an early stage with the help of an Atlanta car accident lawyer. However, some cases go on to the trial stage simply because the insurer or the other driver refuses to pay you fair compensatory damages. When a case goes to trial, it involves a due legal process. A part of this process is ‘discovery.’
‘Discovery’ is simply a legal tool that you, as plaintiff, and the other side, as a defendant, can use. It is a legal way of obtaining evidence from each other. A deposition is a kind of discovery.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is simply a question-and-answer session. The person asking the questions may be an attorney or the presiding judge. The answering party can be you as the plaintiff, the defendant, the witnesses, the medical experts or any other related parties.
A key part of a deposition is to ask the right questions and obtain the important facts surrounding the case. However, the defense attorney can also use questions to move focus away from the facts in order to question the credibility of your claim. This is why it is vital to have sound legal help on your side during a deposition.
An oath is first administered before the deposition begins. Under this oath, the person who is being deposed swears that he or she will only state the truth. In addition to the person who administers the oath, other persons who are typically present at a deposition include the plaintiff and their legal counsel, the defense and their legal counsel, and the persons being deposed. A court reporter may also be present to record and transcribe the deposition.
How to Prepare for a Deposition
When you file an Atlanta car accident lawsuit, it is highly probable that the defendant’s attorney is going to depose you. Depositions in car accident cases cover three key areas – your personal background, your version of the accident, and your injuries. The defense’s legal counsel may ask you a wide range of questions about these three areas.
You can prepare for a deposition with the help of your attorney. The first thing is to agree on a date and time with the defense. You can work with the other side to choose a date and time that is convenient.
It is generally a good idea to respond to all the answers in an honest way. Simply state the facts surrounding your personal background, about how the accident happened, and regarding your injuries and treatment. When it comes to the accident itself, the defense may ask you specific questions such as where were you headed at the time, how far was the other car when you saw it, what was your speed at the time, and so on.
It may be a test of your patience to respond to these questions. However, it is important that you answer all the questions without getting exasperated or annoyed. If you don’t have an answer to a specific question, simply state so.
How to Depose the Other Driver
As the plaintiff in a car accident case, you have the option to have the other party deposed. Your attorney can ask the defendant to undergo deposition. As with your deposition, the deposition of the other driver will involve asking questions about their background, their version of the accident, and so on. The focus of the questions in the case of the defendant should be on ascertaining their fault or negligence. For instance, your attorney can ask if the defendant was using the radio or the phone at the time the crash occurred.
Other Parties That Can Be Deposed
Other parties may also be deposed in a car accident case. These primarily include witnesses and medical experts. Both sides may depose a witness or a medical expert relevant to the case. During the deposition of such a third-party, the aim is to obtain facts that support your claim and make clear the negligence of the other party.
Hiring a Reliable Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
If you have suffered a car accident in Atlanta, GA, an experienced attorney can help you explore all options for compensatory damages. Here at Reginald Greene Law Office, we strive to help you recover compensation from the insurer first. This is because recovering from an insurance company takes a relatively shorter time. Failing that, we help you take your case to trial and work with you through the depositions and other procedures to make sure you secure the damages you deserve. Reach out to us today to talk to our lawyers and discuss your case.