Understanding Car Accident Depositions
If you’ve never given a deposition before, it may feel intimidating to face this portion of the legal process. After a lawsuit has been filed, the “discovery” portion of the case begins. During this phase, attorneys from both side will have the opportunity to question witnesses, examine evidence, and establish the facts of the case.
During a deposition, the defendant’s attorneys will ask you to provide testimony about your car accident. They will ask you many personal questions about your injuries, and try to find contradictions between your testimony and any eyewitness accounts or medical records. Although depositions vary in length and location, they must always be witnessed by a court reporter, who tapes and transcribes the entire session.
What Should I Know About Depositions?
While you should always consult with your attorney well before giving a deposition, it’s important to keep in mind that the defendant is looking to disprove your claim, and determine if you contributed to the car accident. Because California is an at-fault accident state, the party liable for the collision will be responsible for paying damages.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you give a deposition:
- Keep things brief. It’s better to err on the side of brevity when giving your statement. This doesn’t mean that you should be dishonest — on the contrary, you should never try to withhold factual information. But additional details, personal stories, and extra volunteered information could be used against you later.
- Stick to the facts. Always make sure that your deposition lines up with your actual car accident claim. Even small discrepancies in your story can be used later to paint you in a negative light, or as someone with a faulty memory.
- Remain calm. It can be difficult when you’re asked to discuss personal details, but keeping a calm and level demeanor is critical during a deposition. The defendant’s attorney will be closely watching your body language and expressions for weaknesses, all of which could allow them to build a stronger strategy.
What Will I Be Asked?
Depending on the nature of your case, you could be asked any number of questions. Remember that there is no time limit to a deposition, with many taking hours or even days to complete. However, there are some commonly shared details that most attorneys will want to know.
Here are the main categories of questioning during a deposition:
- Your personal background (including encounters with the law)
- Your medical records
- The date of the car accident
- The condition of your vehicle
- Weather conditions on the road
- Injuries sustained in the crash
- Timeline for symptoms
- The time you first sought medical care
- The impact of your injuries
Powerful Representation in Car Accident Cases
At Kershaw, Cook & Talley, we take every car accident case seriously, and work hard to ensure that our clients are fully prepared for the trial process. With over $1 billion won on behalf of injury victims, we’ve earned a track record of success and national recognition for our advocacy efforts. When you call our Sacramento legal team, we’ll walk you through the specifics of your case and ensure that you are fully prepared to become a deponent.
Call (916) 520-6639 today to schedule a free consultation with our qualified attorneys.