Importance of Depositions in an Auto Crash Case

Deposition Time ClockIf the insurance company will not be reasonable and offer you the compensation you deserve for your injuries, you will need to file a civil lawsuit against the negligent driver. One of the lengthiest stages of your court case will be the discovery phase. This is the fact-finding phase where your attorney and the lawyer for the negligent driver’s insurance company obtain helpful information about your claim and the defenses being raised in your case.

A big part of the discovery phase is taking depositions of various individuals. It can be helpful to understand what this is because you will most likely be deposed too.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is an out-of-court question and answer session that is conducted by attorneys representing you and the insurance company. The lawyer conducting it would ask questions to the person being deposed, who must answer them under oath. A court reporter would be present to transcribe the questions and answers and then would create a written transcript that could be used in court hearings and at the trial.

In Virginia, the parties to a lawsuit are allowed to take depositions. The purpose is to gather evidence about the case and learn about the testimony that would be given at trial. This allows the lawyers to avoid surprises and present all the evidence they can to support their client’s case. People who are often deposed in car accident cases include:

  • The accident victim who filed the lawsuit, who is referred to as the plaintiff
  • The negligent driver, who is called the defendant
  • Any other drivers and passengers involved in the accident
  • Any witnesses to the collision
  • Police officers
  • Expert witnesses
  • Other witnesses who may testify at trial

Who Is Present at a Deposition?

The attorney scheduling the deposition is required to give the person being deposed advance written notice of the deposition. It is usually conducted at a convenient location, such as one of the lawyer’s offices. The people who are usually present at a deposition include:

  • Person being deposed
  • Parties to the lawsuit if they are not being deposed and want to attend it
  • Attorneys for the plaintiff and all defendants
  • Court reporter

The lawyer conducting the deposition would usually start by asking the person being deposed about his education, work history, and family situation. He would then ask specific questions about the accident, the victim’s injuries, and any defenses raised by the defendant. The precise questions will depend on who is being deposed and what they know about the case.

If you are filing a claim with a negligent driver’s insurance company, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney if you want to receive the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries under Virginia law. To learn about our track record of success in representing car collision victims and how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.