There are several steps throughout a personal injury case including initial meetings with an attorney, initiation of a case with the filing of court papers, discovery phase, resolutions before trial including motions to dismiss, settlement period, trial, judgment, compensation collection, and the appeal process.1 The discovery phase is an important intermediate stage focused on fact finding and disclosures through three forms: written discovery, document production, and depositions.2
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is a sworn statement collected during a designated time and place that is recognized as a testimony given under oath for the purposes of use in the trial or negotiation phases.3 A deposition is structured through a question-answer format where an attorney poses questions, the witness testifies, and the answers are recorded by a court reporter in the form of a transcript.4 Though the basic structure of a deposition is consistent, each deposition can vary based on the length of time, number of questions, and level of inquiry. Some of the difficulties that arise during depositions is the need to subpoena unwilling parties and avoiding questions that encourage speculation, since a deposition is restricted to determining facts, not providing opinions.5
What is the Benefit of Holding a Deposition?
Depositions are common features in personal injury cases, because they function as a logical maneuver to circumvent the complexity of an accident by allowing an opportunity for fact finding. Consider the complexity of a typical car accident. Determining the who, how, and why behind an accident is essential to recovering for damages, but there are normally several different perspectives on what occurred. In a multi-vehicle accident, there could be two or more drivers, passengers in both vehicles, pedestrians or bystanders who witnessed the crash, and a range of first responders who arrived shortly after the accident. Each of these individuals may have a different perspective on the events which is why holding a deposition is the best way to get a clear picture of what occurred through analysis and comparison of each deposition. Besides learning how and when the injury occurred, there are other general reasons to hold a deposition including the need to obtain important facts about your case missing from your clients recollection, determining the strengths and weaknesses in your case, seeing the strengths and weakness of your opponents’ arguments, and getting an opportunity to examine how a potential person may perform if they testify at trial.6
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have been involved in a matter then may require legal assistance, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests to compensation. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.