Depositions are recorded oral testimony given under oath outside of court, usually as a part of the pre-trial discovery process. Depositions can play a key role in helping both sides get a more complete idea of exactly what happened, how it occurred, and who played a role. Some cases may require depositions from the victim and many witnesses while others require none.
Many attorneys now use video depositions, although most still rely on a written transcript of the sworn statements when they need to refer to it while preparing for trial. In some cases, deposition testimony may also be admissible in court.
Understanding the Purpose of a Deposition in a Virginia Personal Injury Case
After filing a lawsuit, attorneys for both the complainant and the defendant begin investigating exactly what happened during the incident. This is the discovery phase of the case. These investigations rely on collecting many types of evidence to build a solid argument for court. This may include:
- Filing subpoenas to gain access to important documents.
- Requesting written answers known as interrogatories.
- Taking depositions of some possible witnesses in the case.
While these methods allow both sides to learn more about what happened, depositions are especially telling because they allow the opposing attorney to ask questions directly and receive responses in real time. Some reasons we take depositions include:
- To learn key facts about a case.
- To learn more about the strength (or weakness) of the defendant’s case.
- To know how we can expect a person to testify in court.
Know What Happens During a Deposition
While most people still treat it as they would a courtroom appearance, depositions are generally far more laidback. They often occur in an attorney’s office or a conference room at the local courthouse. It is important to remember, though, that all testimony is still under oath.
In general, those present at a deposition may include:
- The claimant and their attorney
- The defendant and their attorney
- The witness being deposed
- A court reporter who will record the testimony
The courts require that attorneys record depositions, so the person requesting the deposition will hire a court reporter who will record audio or video of the testimony or use a transcriber machine to capture it. The person giving the deposition will be under oath and will need to answer a series of questions asked by the attorneys.
Determining Who Needs to Give a Deposition in a Virginia Personal Injury Case
How many depositions and who the attorneys call to give them varies widely from case to case. In most cases, at least the injury victim gets deposed by the opposing counsel. Other parties could include:
- The potentially liable party
- Those with information about the hazard or other cause of the injury
- Expert medical witnesses
- Accident reconstruction specialists or other expert witnesses
If there is someone who an attorney believes has information about an accident or injury, they can file a subpoena and compel the person to give a deposition. Some law firms also hire experts to help prove their case and depose them to uncover new evidence based on their expertise.
Depositions and Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses can help establish cause, prove injuries, or document damages associated with a personal injury accident. A common example of this is when an injured party has extensive ongoing care costs. The victim’s attorney will call in a medical expert witness familiar with the case to help prove:
- The severity of their injuries
- The length of their recovery
- Necessary ongoing and future care
- Necessary rehabilitation and therapy
- The cost of required equipment or prescribed devices
This type of testimony could be vital in recovering not only current economic losses but compensation for future accident-related expenses as well.
Let the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC Help with Your Personal Injury Case
Attorney Jim Parrish spent the early part of his career representing insurance companies. Today, he uses information from inside the insurance industry to help protect his clients from the same insurers he used to represent. At the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, our team helps personal injury victims pursue the compensation they deserve.
This may include damages for:
- Current economic losses
- Future economic losses
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
Reach out to our team today at 571-229-1800 for a free review of your personal injury case. We know how to get what we need from a deposition in a VA personal injury case. We will navigate the claims process on your behalf, filing a civil lawsuit if necessary to protect your rights in court.