A car accident victim often has many questions for auto accident attorneys in Atlanta. One such question is whether they can get deposed. A deposition is part of the discovery process of a lawsuit.
It is a testimony given under oath by parties to a lawsuit and recorded by an authorized court officer. This article covers whether a car accident victim can get deposed and what to know about deposition. We also share sample questions to expect during the process.
Will a Car Accident Victim Get Deposed? Auto Accident Attorneys in Atlanta Explain
Yes. A deposition as a car accident victim is integral to a personal injury lawsuit as it allows both parties (the victim/plaintiff and the defendant/at-fault party) to tell their version of events. Getting deposed also allows both sides to assess the strength of each other’s case.
By getting deposed, the plaintiff can determine the type of evidence the defendant plans to present during the trial. The defendant, on their part, hopes to find weaknesses in the plaintiff’s case that they can use to their advantage. Also, a car accident victim’s deposition might cause parties who were unwilling to settle to reach an agreement.
For instance, if the defendant finds that the victim has a watertight case, their insurance company might want to settle. This is because the jury might award a larger compensation if the suit makes it to trial. Therefore, you must take depositions seriously because the at-fault party and their team will do so.
The parties present at a deposition are:
- The deponent (this could be the plaintiff or the defendant, depending on who is getting deposed at the time)
- Any witnesses whose testimony is needed
- Representatives of the at-fault party’s insurance company
- A court officer to record the statements, usually a stenographer
The deposition proceedings are usually recorded in videos, and the deponent’s testimony is admitted as evidence during a trial. Also, depositions happen in the conference room of a lawyer’s office. Finally, you cannot avoid getting deposed unless in some extenuating circumstances.
What to Know About Depositions in Atlanta, Georgia
Coming out on top after a deposition as a car accident victim depends on several factors. Here’s what to know about a car accident lawsuit deposition.
Don’t Talk Too Much
The saying ‘less is more’ is very important when being deposed. During your deposition as a car accident victim, the at-fault party’s lawyer or auto insurance company legal representative will ask several questions. They aim to get as much information from you as possible, specifically on how the crash happened and the type and extent of your injuries.
Even if the other party’s lawyer appears friendly, don’t answer questions outside the scope of what was asked. Say as little as possible, providing only relevant details. Providing information that is outside the question asked only helps the other party.
However, talking less does not mean you should avoid answering questions. If there is a question you shouldn’t answer, your auto accident attorneys in Atlanta will step in and ask you not to. You or your lawyer can reveal any additional information relevant to the case later or when your attorney asks follow-up questions.
Prepare for the Deposition
Your attorney will prepare you for the deposition to ensure you do not say anything to jeopardize winning the case. However, you must also prepare and refresh your mind on the facts of the case. Start with going through the police report, particularly your statement as a car accident victim.
Your words in the police report must correspond with what you will say during the deposition. The other party can claim you lied and falsified evidence if it doesn’t. Also, get a copy of your medical record; you must know the injury listed, the severity, and the treatment.
Knowing your injury history will help you answer questions about it, especially those focused on how the wound affected your quality of life. Also, review your lawyer’s answers in the interrogatories, and note the documents they presented as evidence.
Don’t assume the deposition will focus only on how the accident happened and your injuries. Instead, the defendant’s lawyer will ask personal questions like your family background, career, and medical history.
Finally, if the at-fault party’s lawyer asks questions you don’t have answers to, it is better not to answer than to speculate. But note that not having an answer is not the same as having one and refusing to provide it, as mentioned earlier.
The At-Fault Party’s Lawyer Is Looking to Trap You
Again, the defendant’s lawyer is not on your side, no matter how friendly they appear. Usually, the at-fault party’s attorney will pin you to a set of facts. Then, they will pick a part of your story that they feel is ambiguous and focus on it.
The aim is to catch you in a lie to damage your credibility. So, suppose you said you drove 40 miles per hour when the crash happened. Then during the deposition, you said you drove at 35 miles or that you are suddenly unsure. The varying answer and lack of certainty will cast doubt on your honesty as a car accident victim, and the defendant’s lawyer may accuse you of perjury.
The defendant’s attorney records more than your answer to questions. They watch your body language, gestures, and temperament. They will assume you are not telling the truth if you appear nervous. Also, how you behave tells the at-fault party’s lawyer whether or not the jury would likely believe and sympathize with you.
Sample Questions During a Car Accident Deposition
The accident deposition questions cover your personal background, how the accident happened, injuries and treatment. Below, we put together some sample questions to let you know what to expect.
- What is your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, and academic qualification?
- Are you married? How many children do you have?
- Tell us about your medical history.
- Do you have any prior or ongoing criminal or civil cases?
- What time, date, week, and where did the accident occur?
- Where were you coming from and heading to, and what was the weather like?
- What injuries did you suffer in the accident, and do you have a pre-existing health condition?
- How much have you spent treating yourself? Etc.
Our Auto Accident Attorneys in Atlanta Will Help You Prepare for Your Deposition
The outcome of a deposition as a car accident victim is crucial to your injury lawsuit; therefore, you should not take it lightly. Our team at The Weinstein Firm will help you prepare for the deposition to avoid jeopardizing your chances of getting maximum compensation. Book a free initial consultation with our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia. We work on a contingency fee basis.