What Is A Deposition And How Are They Used In A Car Wreck Case?

A deposition is the process of giving sworn testimony.  In a civil car wreck case, depositions are typically taken of the parties involved in the lawsuit and of witnesses.  It is a process where one or more attorneys get to ask questions of the deponent, who must answer truthfully and to the best of their knowledge and ability. 

It is important to note that depositions are typically NOT done during the process of a car wreck insurance claim (ie. when an insurance claim has not yet become a lawsuit).  

When Are Depositions Done?:

Once a lawsuit is filed, the parties (usually through their attorneys) can begin taking depositions.  The parties will try to schedule a date, time, and location convenient for everyone expected to attend.  If the Court has set a deadline for conducting depositions or has set a “discovery cutoff,” depositions will take place prior to that deadline. 

Why Are Depositions Useful?:

Depositions provide the parties with a chance to uncover evidence from witnesses concerning how an accident happened and to dig deeper into the Plaintiff’s injuries and medical treatment.  Expert witnesses may also testify at a deposition regarding the damages the Plaintiff has incurred or will incur in the future. 

For defense attorneys, depositions provide them with the opportunity to ask questions of the Plaintiff, since they are not allowed to contact the Plaintiff directly during the lawsuit. 

What Should I Expect During A Deposition?

At Flattmann Law, we make sure to put our clients at ease when it comes to preparing for their deposition.  If our client’s deposition is requested by the insurance company’s attorney, we coordinate with our client to make sure it is scheduled at their convenience.  Then, prior to the deposition, we will meet with our client to answer any questions they have regarding the deposition and what to expect.  Typically, we will also go over our client’s case with them so that they are as comfortable as possible with the process.

On the day of the deposition, a court reporter will be present to type down all of the questions asked of the deponent and all of the deponent’s answers.  We sit next to our client while they are being questioned, and while we can’t answer questions on their behalf, we may raise objections if a question is improper. 

A deposition may last several hours or more, depending on the case.  After the deposition, we typically reserve the right to have our client read the transcript of the deposition once it is ready, so that they have the opportunity to correct any errors. 

How Are Depositions Used During A Trial?:

Depositions can be used during a trial if a witness is trying to change their story from what they had testified to earlier.  This is called “impeachment.” 

Sometimes, the rules allow depositions to be used if a witness is unable to testify live at trial.  This is particularly common for the testimony of doctors and some out of state witnesses.

Have You Been Seriously Injured And Have Questions About The Legal Process?

 If you have been seriously injured and have questions about the legal process, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.

Grady Flattmann
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Local Covington, Louisiana attorney focusing 100% on personal injury matters.