Personal injury cases are typically litigated until the discovery phase is complete. Once the discovery phase ends, the parties are more likely to be in a better position to begin settlement negotiations. However, one of the most important discovery tools available to attorneys is the deposition. A deposition is a question-and-answer session between a witness or party and an attorney, but the deponent is under oath, and this means it is essentially the same as the deponent testifying in a court of law. The deponent can be charged with perjury for lying under oath.
Why Are Depositions So Valuable to Personal Injury Cases?
Depositions are valuable to personal injury cases because an attorney can ask questions to deponents which can then be used to impeach the witness at trial. If an individual gives conflicting testimony at trial regarding the subject of the deposition, then the witness may be impeached. Attorneys impeach witnesses to reduce the credibility of the witness and strengthen their client’s case. However, depositions last hours, and attorneys must spend an inordinate amount of time researching a case and devising a set of questions which will benefit the client.
Which Topics Are Discussed During Depositions?
The majority of depositions concern the liability of the defendant. It is essential that the plaintiff’s attorney prove that the defendant was liable under a theory of negligence. The four elements of negligence are duty, breach, causation, and damages. These four elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, and it is necessary for attorneys to understand how to prove these elements. Deposition testimony can help lawyers understand more about the facts of a case and how to exploit those facts to their client’s advantage.
Preparing for Depositions
A client may be deposed by the defense in a civil lawsuit. Therefore, personal injury attorneys also need to prepare their clients for their own depositions. Generally, a client will speak with an attorney and go over the questions the defense counsel may ask during the deposition. Also, it is necessary for the client to understand when to state that they do not recall specific events or when they cannot provide an accurate answer to a question. Deponents need to understand which freedoms are available to them during the course of the deposition.
Attorneys must spend time dissecting the facts of a case to be able to ask important questions during depositions. Witnesses and parties may have forgotten important information, and attorneys often use exhibits to refresh the recollection of witnesses and parties. This process is helpful to jurors as well who can examine these exhibits so they can acquire a more detailed understanding of the personal injury case.
Contact the Saperstein Law Group to Schedule a Free Consultation
Individuals who are interested in pursuing a civil lawsuit need to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer. The Saperstein Law Group can help you with depositions and other aspects of discovery. Being involved in a personal injury case can be an intimidating process. However, we are here to help you overcome your fear so you can pursue financial compensation for your injuries.