When an accident victim files a personal injury lawsuit against the party or parties that were responsible for the accident, there is a process that the claim usually goes through before the case actually goes to trial, if at all. In many accident claims, the victim’s attorney and the at-fault party’s insurance company will usually negotiate to see if they can come up with a fair and just settlement. If both sides agree to an amount, then the lawsuit is settled, and is not necessary to go through litigation.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are in the business to make money and it is not uncommon that the company refuses to give the victim the financial compensation they deserve for their losses. When this occurs, then the victim’s personal injury attorney will move forward with litigation and the case will head to trial.
Part of a lawsuit is the discovery process. Discovery is how both parties gather evidence that they will use at trial to try to prove their arguments to the jury. One of the tools that both sides have for discovery is depositions. During a deposition, the witness will be asked questions by both the victim’s attorney and the insurance company’s attorney. People who can be deposed in a personal injury case include the victim, the at-fault party, witnesses to the incident, medical experts, and accident reconstruction experts.
Depositions can be performed anywhere but they are usually held at the attorney’s office. Typically, both parties, their attorneys, and a court reporter are present during the deposition. Everything that is said during the deposition is recorded by the court reporter, just like in a courtroom. In some cases, the deposition may also be video recorded, depending on the attorneys who set up the event.
If you are going to be deposed, your attorney will help prepare you, explaining what to expect, as well as how to prepare key talking points. Your attorney may even go through practice runs, asking questions that the other side’s attorney will likely ask and making sure you have your talking points down in your responses.
It can be very helpful before you sit through a deposition to look at all the evidence that you are aware of. This can also help freshen your memory regarding the incident, especially if has been some time since the accident took place. Even evidence that doesn’t affect your testimony should be looked over since it can help you have a better handle on your understanding of the case.
For example, your attorney has been able to obtain the other driver’s phone records that show he was texting at the time of the crash, that will be evidence your attorney will use in the case to show distracted driving. Knowing all the evidence that is part of your case can make you feel more comfortable about going through the deposition, as well.
As you go through the deposition, you will want to think carefully before you answer, especially for any of the questions the other party’s attorney is asking you. One mistake in your answers could end up having the lawsuit dismissed. You also never want to lie in your answers. Not only could the lawsuit be dismissed, but you could also face legal issues since you are under oath during the questioning.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
When you are pursuing a personal injury case, it is important to have a dedicated and skilled Norfolk personal injury attorney advocating for you and make sure that your rights are protected during this process. If you have been injured, contact Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to schedule a free and confidential consultation to find out how we can help.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.