Depositions are very common when car accident claims are filed. Most claims are handled through the negotiation process when fault is not an issue and the insurance company knows they will be required to pay some level of benefits. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes the respondent insurance company will want the case heard in court when they think they have a reasonably solid argument that could result in having the claim dismissed. While the deposition process does not require the claimant to have an attorney, the best decision is nearly always consulting with a car accident attorney who can evaluate the case and make a recommendation, including whether they will take the case.
The Deposition Process
Depositions are one of the areas an attorney can help the most. The legal counselors for each side in a car accident dispute can call any litigant to a deposition, including the expert witnesses each side plans to use. These witnesses will usually be questioned by both the plaintiff and defense lawyers in attempt to solidify a case or an alternative argument. Witnesses are normally any of the following:
- Medical professionals.
- Accident reconstruction specialists.
- Any other witnesses who are willing to testify.
Understanding the Purpose of a Deposition
A deposition is essentially the same legal proceeding as being called to the stand to testify in any other hearing. The difference is that the deposition is recorded so both the defense attorney and the Personal Injury Lawyer Bloomington IL trusts can evaluate the answers during and after the proceeding.
Plaintiffs can expect to be called for a deposition by the defending attorney and may be questioned about a wide range of issues concerning the accident. Common questions that are asked include:
- Personal information such as the plaintiff’s name and age, along with a personal residence address.
- Years of driving experience and employment.
- Place of employment.
- Were they on duty when the accident occurred? This information can be important because the employer could also be included in the claim or suit.
The Open Hearing
Though the primary parties in a car accident may be deposed prior to a hearing, they may also be called to the stand to testify in open court. This is often why the parties were deposed initially. Similar questions will be asked, but they may be worded differently. This is done purposely in an effort to catch either the plaintiff or the defendant, or any other witnesses who respond with conflicting information. Attorneys may request testimony be removed from the record which can have a major impact on the case. This is especially true if information presented by an expert medical witness conflicts with another’s testimony.
Calling witnesses to assist your case can be instrumental in winning your case, but witnesses cannot normally be compelled to testify in either a deposition or an open hearing. Each case is different and it is up to each attorney to make a judgement call on what is the best strategy for their client.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into depositions during car accident cases.