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What is a deposition and why are they important?

Just when you think the pain and suffering from your car accident may be ending, some new discomfort comes along. This time, it is the uncertainty associated with undergoing a deposition for your personal injury lawsuit.

If you, like most people, have never been a party to a lawsuit, this term itself is probably unfamiliar. Our post will explain what a deposition is and why they are such an important part of the litigation process. Then you will know what to expect.

Setting the stage for trial

A deposition is a fact-finding mission. The lawyers of your opponent — the person you are holding responsible for the accident that caused your injuries — want to know what they are up against. At the same time, your attorney wants to hear the other side of the story too. This way, each side has a fair chance to prepare a strategy.

When an attorney is questioning you, you are known as the deponent. Other deponents may include anyone named in the lawsuit as well as any witnesses to the accident. You will simply describe the accident and your injuries and answer any questions. Your attorney may also ask questions of your opponent.

A video camera or court reporter will record every word you say and prepare a transcript of the deposition for each attorney. Your attorney will then study the transcripts to find any weaknesses or inconsistencies in your opponent's deposition. This will allow your counsel to prepare a case to your best advantage.

An advocate in your corner

The deposition will probably take place at the office of one of the lawyers. No judge or jury will be present. It may be a very brief meeting, or it may go on for several days.

It is possible that the details you share at the deposition will be enough to cause your opponent to offer a settlement rather than going to trial. This may happen if your opposition is concerned that the judge or jury would be greatly moved by your testimony.

By having a skilled lawyer at your side, you can be confident of having the best opportunity for a positive outcome at your personal injury trial. A deposition is just one step in this process. A successful trial may result in compensation that will allow you to obtain quality medical care for the most complete recovery possible.

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