If you were in a car accident and are now bringing a lawsuit against another party, there is a good chance that you will be compelled to participate in a deposition. While being deposed can be a stressful and scary experience, you will have a much easier time if you properly prepare. You can prepare by knowing ahead of time what questions will likely be asked of you by preparing good answers to those questions.
When you are facing a deposition, like any other aspect of the litigation process, you will want a highly skilled attorney by your side. If you are considering suing someone after a car accident, contact the “Strong Arm” John Foy at John Foy and Associates today.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is a process where you will be examined by both the opposing side’s attorney and your attorney in order to gather evidence about your case. A deposition is part of the discovery process, which is the time during a lawsuit when both parties are gathering evidence to present to the court at trial.
Section 9-11-30 of the Georgia Code governs depositions. According to that statute, depositions are a mandatory part of the litigation process. You will be summoned to your deposition via subpoena, which is a Court order that compels you to appear at a certain location at a certain time, and you will likely be asked to bring certain documents with you to the deposition.
You will be placed under oath when you are deposed, so it is important to tell the truth to the best of your understanding, as knowingly lying at a deposition is perjury the same way that lying in open court is. Further, you must attend your deposition, as failing to attend can result in you being forced to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.
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What to Expect at a Deposition
A deposition, quite simply, will be a conference between yourself, your lawyer, and the other party’s lawyer, where the lawyers will ask you questions about your case. You have likely heard the old adage that lawyers never ask questions in court that they do not already know the answer to. The same does not apply to depositions because the deposition is where the lawyers learn the answers to their questions.
Your deposition will more than likely take place at either your attorney’s law firm or the other attorney’s firm (or, in rare circumstances, the courthouse). There will be a court reporter there, but depositions are far less formal than open court.
Questions to Expect at Your Deposition
Questions that you will be asked at your deposition can generally be divided into three general categories: general background questions, witness credibility questions, and claim-specific questions. General background questions will be questions about your background. Think of these as “get to know you” questions.
Witness credibility questions will be aimed at determining whether you have some skeletons in your closet that can be exploited to discredit you. And claim-specific questions will ask you to tell your version of the events that gave rise to the lawsuit.
Examples of General Background Questions
For lawyers, a jury trial is a lot like storytelling. Lawyers want to present the facts of a case to the jury in a logical, story-like fashion to make them easy to comprehend. It should not surprise you, therefore, that the lawyers will likely want you to “introduce yourself” to the jury, which will be done via background questions.
Some common examples of general background questions are:
- What is your full name?
- When were you born?
- Where do you live?
- What is the highest level of education that you completed?
- Are you married?
- Do you have children?
Medical History Questions
Some general background questions will be aimed at your medical history if your lawsuit involves personal injury. This is likely because the defendant’s lawyer will want to argue that your injuries were pre-existing or not caused by the defendant. Examples of these questions are:
- Did you have any injuries already at the time of the accident?
- Were you diagnosed with any medical ailment prior to the accident?
- What doctors have you seen in the past decade, and what treatment did you receive from them?
Examples of Witness Credibility Questions
Because you will be testifying to the jury about your version of events during the accident, the defendant will likely look for ways to make the jury distrust you. This is called impeachment, and the purpose of it is to discredit your version of events to, by extension, make the alternative version of events look more credible. At your deposition, the defendant’s lawyer will try to find out things about you that they can bring up at trial.
Examples of these types of questions are:
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
- Have you ever been arrested?
- How many car accidents have you been in before this one?
- How many lawsuits have you filed before this one?
- Did you drink any alcohol on the day of the accident?
- Do you wear glasses/ were you wearing those glasses at the time of the accident?
Finally, you will be asked questions that are meant for you to provide your version of events. This is so both lawyers know what to expect that you will tell the jury at trial. Some common examples of these questions are:
- How fast were you going?
- What road were you driving on?
- What part of your car struck/was struck by the defendant’s car?
- What injuries did you have as a result of the accident?
- Are those injuries still present?
- Did you talk to the defendant at any point after the accident, and if so, what did they say?
- Who was the police officer that arrived at the accident scene?
Contact John Foy and Associates Today
These questions are just some examples of the numerous questions that might be asked of you at deposition. You need the help of skilled lawyers that have participated in hundreds of depositions and know what to expect and how to help you prepare. Before you file a car accident lawsuit, make sure to contact John Foy & Associates for a free consultation and case review.