Two cars involved in a car accident.

Car Accident Deposition What to Expect

Being prepared for a deposition can help victims get the best outcome for their car accident case. An experienced personal injury attorney will tell their clients what to expect before, during, and after a car accident deposition. Following the deposition, a lawsuit will either go to court or settle before trial. Depositions are used as part of the discovery process in a case. They can be used to lock in testimony, meaning that the other attorney will use a client’s deposition to uncover discrepancies between what they say in the courtroom and what they said while being deposed. Depositions are also commonly used to enter testimony of witnesses who can’t be present for some reason.

Deposition will take place out of court. Sworn testimony will be given under oath in the presence of a court reporter and attorneys. In car accident lawsuits, depositions will typically cover three subjects including your background, how the collision occurred, and the severity of your injuries. A car accident deposition is a formal question-and-answer session that gives lawyers from both sides of the case a chance to:

  • Hear everyone’s account of events
  • Evaluate the weight of the testimony
  • Decide if this witness may sway a judge or jury

Eight Tips for a Smooth Car Accident Deposition

Being in the hot seat and giving sworn testimony can be uncomfortable. If clients keep these eight tips in mind, the deposition is likely to go much more smoothly. 

  1. Be prepared and go over the facts of the case beforehand.
  2. Always be truthful.
  3. Be mindful of the transcript and provide clear answers.
  4. Answer only the question presented and avoid volunteering information.
  5. Answer only as to what you know and don’t speculate.
  6. Stay calm and avoid showing anger or apologizing.
  7. Ask to see exhibits when asked about them.
  8. Don’t be bullied or allow the examiner to rush you or interrupt.

What Types of Questions Will Be Asked During a Car Accident Deposition?

Before a car accident deposition, a client and their lawyer will go over the things that might be asked to make sure responses to questions are honest, but in a manner that is in the best interest of a client’s auto accident claim. The following are examples of questions that might be asked during a deposition:

  • What is your educational background?
  • What is your marital status?
  • Do you have children? How many?
  • Do you have any health issues?
  • Did you have any injuries that existed before this accident?
  • What doctors have you seen during the last 10 years, and what types of treatment have you received?
  • What jobs have you held in the last 10 year?
  • Does your current job have physical requirements?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
  • Have you ever filed a lawsuit?
  • What, when, and where did the automobile accident occur?
  • How fast were you going?
  • Exactly what did you do after the accident?
  • What were the weather conditions?
  • What injuries did you suffer from the accident?
  • When did you initially noticed that you were injured?
  • Did you visit a physician after the accident?
  • What medical treatment are you currently receiving and/or will you need?
  • How has this injury affected your life?
  • What financial losses have you suffered?
  • Why do you think the defendant is at fault?
  • Do you have any photos that show the accident scene? A client may be asked to draw a diagram of the accident scene showing how the accident happened.

How Long Are Car Accident Depositions?

The time limits for depositions in Texas are set by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure, which states that “no side may examine or cross-examine an individual witness for more than six hours.” It also states that breaks during depositions do not count against this limitation. This rule results in most depositions falling somewhere within the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. range, which is seven hours with a break for lunch. Depositions may be scheduled for multiple days or extend into additional days if needed.

What Happens After a Car Accident Deposition?

After the deposition is finished, the court reporter will process a transcription and provide copies and evidence entered into the record during the deposition for both parties. Each side has access to the same information and will often interpret the information differently to strengthen their claims or defenses. In this way, depositions are crucial in working up a case in preparation for either settlement or trial.

Having a highly qualified and experienced personal injury attorney at the deposition is helpful because they can state objections to the opposing counsel’s questions. A car accident deposition is merely one necessary step in the journey of obtaining the compensation you need to cover the costs of your injuries.