Most only know of depositions from TV and films, but the reality is that what may happen in a personal injury case may be less exciting and dramatic. Also, sometimes, as a part of a personal injury claim, people directly involved or those who witnessed the event are called in to give a statement. They’ll be questioned and allowed to provide valuable information for the plaintiff or the defendant.
Either way, this is all a part of the legal process. So, there is nothing you should be worried about. However, if you’ve been hurt in an accident and haven’t spoken to a legal professional, speak with a Trantolo & Trantolo personal injury lawyer. To obtain the best possible settlement, you’ll need a compassionate lawyer to fight for your right to compensation.
What Is the Discovery Phase of a Lawsuit?
Before a Connecticut personal injury case either goes to trial or there’s a settlement offer, it begins the discovery phase. During this time, each set of lawyers will request information and documents from each other. This information sharing allows each legal team to collect all the evidence in the case and lets them know what would be presented if it were to go to trial. There are four types of evidence shared during the discovery phase.
Documents – these typically include medical records, medical bills, police reports, and pay stubs.
Interrogatories – Interrogatories are a list of questions that the plaintiff and defendant must answer under oath.
Admissions of facts – These are answers to questions about the case that either side doesn’t contest. It helps lawyers to know what points they don’t need to prove.
Depositions – A deposition is a sworn oral testimony given by the plaintiff, defendant, eyewitnesses, or medical experts.
Plaintiffs with strong cases are usually offered a settlement during this pretrial phase of the lawsuit. Fortunately, most personal injury cases don’t go to trial, and settlements are reached before seeking judgment in a courtroom. This isn’t to say that it’ll happen quickly. The discovery phase can last from a few months to a year, possibly longer.
What Is a Deposition?
Depositions are an important part of any personal injury case, especially when there’s some doubt as to who is at fault. If both legal teams can’t agree on who was negligent, they have the right to bring in witnesses who will be deposed during the discovery phase of the lawsuit. A witness may testify as to what they saw during an accident, or they could be referred to as an expert witness, typically a medical professional.
A deposition occurs in a lawyer’s office or a rented space specializing in depositions. The witness will be sworn in by a court reporter with the authority to do so. They’ll be asked questions, and everything said will be taken down by the court reporter. The opposing legal team has the right to cross-examine the witness.
The transcripts of depositions are given to both legal teams, and they can be used as evidence if a settlement cannot be reached and the case goes to trial. The purpose of a deposition is two-fold. First, they’re used to see how a witness will respond if the case goes to trial, and second, during the cross-examination, to ensure that the witness cannot change their story.
What Types of Questions Are Asked During a Deposition?
The questions asked during a personal injury lawsuit deposition will depend on the case’s specifics and who is being deposed. The plaintiff and defendant are often deposed, so their statements of how the accident happened become a part of the evidence for the case. Typical questions asked can include:
Background information – The witness will be asked for their full name, occupation, and education. Plaintiffs may be asked about their medical history. Medical experts will be asked to provide proof of their expertise.
Details of the accident – Plaintiffs, defendants, and eyewitnesses will be asked to describe the details of the accident.
Expert testimony – Medical experts will be asked to prove their expertise. They’ll also give their opinion of what they believe to be true.
Depositions in Connecticut Personal Injury Claims: Final Thoughts
Most personal injury cases are settled during the discovery phase of a lawsuit. During this time, evidence is shared freely between both legal teams. Depositions may be taken to lock in the plaintiff’s, defendant’s, and witness testimony. These sworn documented statements can be used as evidence if the case goes to trial.
Victims of accidents that caused them harm that were of no fault of their own shouldn’t move forward through the legal system without the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Only under the guidance of a legal professional can they expect to have the best possible settlement.