A personal injury case arises when a person suffers harm from an accident or through medical negligence or using a defective product. Under New Mexico laws, the victim is entitled to recover compensation from the person who harmed them. They can either commence a claim or choose to file a lawsuit depending on the circumstances.
If the victim files a personal injury lawsuit, there are several stages they have to undergo before the case gets to trial. One of such stages is known as the discovery of evidence. During this time, both parties exchange the proof they’ll introduce during trial amid other information.
A crucial part of the discovery stage is the deposition of parties and witnesses. In this article, our Albuquerque personal injury lawyers explain what a deposition means in a personal injury case. We also look at questions to expect and how to behave during one. If you need an attorney to help you file an injury lawsuit, contact us at FBD Law.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition involves taking sworn out-of-court oral testimony of a witness that may be reduced to a written transcript later used in a court or for discovery purposes. In simpler words, a deposition involves the opposing counsel in a case inviting you for a question and answer section on things about the issue at hand. The questioning happens in the lawyer’s office.
The process involves you, your lawyer, the opposing party, and their legal representative. A court recorder will also be present, and they’ll administer the oath and record the proceedings. Statements taken at a deposition are admissible evidence in court.
Before you get deposed, you can rehearse the possible questions with your attorney to ensure you don’t give the wrong answers. Note that you cannot choose not to attend a deposition after receiving the notice of one. It is a crucial part of the pre-trial process, and it’s in your best interest to be a part of it.
Why Is a Deposition Important in a Personal Injury Case?
A deposition allows you to have your testimony on record and tell your side of the events. Indeed you gave a statement to the police about the accident. But it is not enough as that statement only covers what happened on the day you suffered the injury.
But in a deposition, you talk about life before your accident, the injuries you sustained, how much you spent, the impact on your life afterward, etc. Another importance of this process is that it makes it hard for the opposing side and witnesses to recant their story. For example, suppose A caused the accident that led to your injury. Thus, after mentioning A during the deposition, a deposed eyewitness cannot go to court and say its C.
Furthermore, a deposition allows both parties to know the strength and weaknesses of their case. During this process, you can tell how solid the other side’s evidence is and their chances of winning at trial. This, in turn, ultimately helps both sides decide whether they want the case to go to trial or settle out of court.
What Should You Expect From a Deposition?
During a deposition, the opposing side asks the deponent questions on the case. You shouldn’t expect questions outside the case, and if you get one, respectfully decline to answer. The right questions at a personal injury case deposition are:
- General personal information like your background, name, contact information, occupation, etc.
- Physical condition before the accident, including any pre-existing medical condition
- Accident information covering the date of the occurrence, the time, how the accident occurred, reactions immediately and after, and possible conversation with anyone after the incident
- Injury description including where you received treatment, treatment plan, the severity of the injury, etc.
- Life after the accident, with a detailed account of how the injury affected your life and the limitations you now live with.
How Should You Conduct Yourself During a Deposition?
Conducting yourself the right way during a deposition is vital to the overall outcome. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always be polite and behave professionally
- Only discuss the facts and do not provide information on things not asked about
- Take your time and answer questions in unambiguous language
- Speak the truth and avoid padding your answers
- Prepare by role-playing with your attorney
Get Help Today By Contacting Personal Injury Lawyers at FBD Law!
At FBD Law, our Albuquerque personal injury attorneys have the expertise and experience needed to coach you through a deposition. Beyond that, we’ll arrive at a settlement that favors you or helps you win at trial. Protecting your interest is most important to us, so call today for a free case review.