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Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Car Accident > Depositions In Personal Injury Lawsuits

Depositions In Personal Injury Lawsuits


Out of context, it sounds scary when someone tells you that you are about to be deposed.  It is one of those SAT words, if you are old enough to remember when the SAT had vocabulary questions, that could mean anything, a Frankenstein’s monster of Latin roots randomly assembled.  Your lawyer might as well tell you that you will be demoted or defenestrated.  Wasn’t King Charles I of England deposed before he was beheaded, right before Oliver Cromwell outlawed dancing, theater, and everything fun?  In a legal context “depose” is just the verb form of the noun “deposition,” and a deposition is several orders of magnitude less scary than testifying live at trial.  While depositions require preparation and courage, they may be just what you need to get the money you need in a personal injury lawsuit.  To find out more about depositions and all the other elements of personal injury cases, contact a Columbia car accident lawyer.

What Happens at a Deposition?

A deposition is when lawyers representing the parties in a legal case ask questions to a witness, and a court reporter records a transcript of the questions and answers.  In many ways, a deposition is similar to witness testimony in court.  The witness swears an oath to answer truthfully and can face criminal charges for perjury if he or she lies during the deposition.  One party’s lawyer summons the witness because he or she thinks that the testimony of that witness will help that party win, but actually lawyers for both parties (the plaintiff and the defendant) get to ask the witness questions.  When the plaintiff’s lawyer questions the defendant’s witness or vice versa, it is called cross-examination.

There are several important differences between a deposition and a trial, though.  Depositions usually take place in the office of the lawyer who summoned the witness, not in a courtroom.  The judge is not present.  The judge and jury may never even find out what the witness said.

Why Are Depositions Important in Personal Injury Cases?

Personal injury lawsuits involve a long process called discovery, where the plaintiff and defendant research information that may prove their cases and exchange the information they find.  Witness testimony from depositions is an important part of this process.  People who may be deposed in a personal injury case include the plaintiff, eyewitnesses to the accident, doctors who treated the plaintiff, and family members who can attest to how the plaintiff’s life has changed because of the injury, as well as the defendant or, if the defendant is a company, its employees.

The goal of depositions in personal injury cases is for the parties to come to an agreement about a fair settlement and to settle the case.  If the case goes to trial, a witness who previously gave a deposition may testify live.  Your lawyer may cross-examine the other side’s witnesses during the trial to see if they will contradict what they said in their depositions.

Let Us Help You Today

The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you tell your story during a deposition so you can avoid going to trial.  Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.



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