The process of filing a lawsuit and seeing it all the way through trial can at times be disorienting and even frustrating. Perhaps one of the most intimidating parts of this process is the deposition. Anyone who has been a part of a lawsuit is likely familiar with how a deposition works. Essentially, a deposition is where an attorney selects a specific person that they believe has information related to the case and that they would like to get that information from. The attorney then schedules a day, or sometimes several days, to sit down and ask that individual questions under oath. The information gathered during the deposition—the answers to the questions—can be used to help develop a case further and is sometimes even referenced in the actual trial.
From a plaintiff’s perspective, the deposition can be an intimidating and even uncomfortable experience. Generally, when a person is filing a lawsuit, it is assumed that they will be required to participate in a deposition. The opposing side’s attorneys—in car crash cases, this is often the insurance company lawyers—will confront the accident victim with an exhaustive list of questions and expect full and honest answers in return. Oftentimes, these questions can become quite personal, and undergoing a deposition may seem like an unfair experience. If the other side gets to ask you, the injured victim, difficult, personal questions, why don’t you get to do the same?
The answer to that question is that you do—but at a different time and place. During your own deposition, it is primarily the other side that gets to ask questions. During that time, your attorney is present with you to make sure that the other side doesn’t abuse the rules, and to make sure you have an opportunity to elaborate on any answers that you need to. But you, as the plaintiff, will have your opportunity as well, although it will actually be your attorney who asks questions on your behalf. Prior to trial, both sides get the opportunity to discover facts and information that the other side has in their possession. The deposition is one way of doing this, and just like your opponent gets to ask you questions, you get to ask them questions as well. An experienced personal injury attorney will select key people that might know valuable information and schedule depositions with them. During those pre-trial depositions, your attorney will ask questions on your behalf on matters that are important to the investigation and presentation of your injury case—some of them may be as uncomfortable for the Defendant driver who caused the crash as you were in your deposition.