The discovery phase of a personal injury case involves gathering information between both sides’ attorneys. As part of discovery, the opposing lawyer may request any witnesses, including the plaintiff and defendant, to take part in a deposition for the case.
Taking a deposition for the first time can be nerve-wracking for anyone facing questions from the opposing attorney. Your lawyer can help you prepare for a truthful and complete deposition, which can benefit the outcome and compensation of your case.
Deposition Rules in New York
Under Rule 30 in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, any legal process requires a discovery since it puts both sides on equal grounds regarding the evidence of the case.
Discovery allows everyone time to prepare and review all relevant evidence and testimony. A deposition is an on-the-record question-and-answer session between case witnesses and both parties’ legal teams.
The opposing lawyer can go through the court to issue a subpoena for a deposition at a specific date and place where you will answer written or oral questions. When you receive one, you must legally participate, especially if the case involves you.
However, under New York State and federal laws, witnesses must have reasonable notice and live and work within 100 miles of the deposition location.
Your lawyer can review the subpoena to see if it complies with state and federal laws. They may discover there isn’t enough time to respond to it, or the deposition location is over 100 miles away from you. Your lawyer may file a motion to modify or quash the subpoena before its return date.
What happens if I refuse to take part in a deposition?
When you receive a deposition subpoena, it must state that failure to comply in New York State is considered contempt of the court. Refusing to follow a summons for a deposition can end up in a fine of up to $150. The court can also require a sheriff to bring you in to give your deposition.
Your attorney can ensure you comply with the subpoena and help you prepare for a deposition.
Why Is a Deposition Important for Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Your deposition is essential for a first-hand account of what led to your personal injury lawsuit. It allows attorneys to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and get a sense of how you might testify in court.
Testimonies from depositions are essential in court when you take the stand to answer questions from attorneys. Changing your answers in court can lead to the opposing attorney pointing out the differences between your testimony and your answers in court, lowering your chances of settling fairly.
What to Expect at Your Deposition
Depositions can occur in the attorney’s office, over the phone, or through remote teleconferencing. You must swear under oath to give your testimony truthfully when answering questions from the other attorney.
The attorney will ask you questions, and a court reporter records your answers in a transcript. These questions may involve such topics as:
- Personal information about your name, background, and contact information
- Physical condition before and after the accident, including pre-existing injuries and illnesses
- Details regarding the accident, including your mental state before and after, road conditions, and your actions afterward
- Description of your injuries and if you sustained any limitations like disability and limited mobility
- Quality of life after an accident resulting in financial loss and pain and suffering
Your lawyer will be your most valuable supporter in preparing and guiding you through your deposition. They can ensure you give brief answers and help you prepare your responses to avoid statements that the other side can misconstrue. Since you are under sworn testimony, you must be as specific as possible about the accident and its impact on your well-being and financial resources.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help in Your Case
Contact the Syracuse personal injury lawyers at Catalano Law to help you file a personal injury lawsuit and prepare you for a deposition. We will use our years of experience and knowledge of personal injury law to fight for your right to compensation.
Call our law office today to book a free evaluation so you can confidently move forward with your case.