Copyright © 2021 Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduced with Permission.
Because our client had retained our services as attorneys, she was prepared for depositions in the Toledo head-on collision case. Attorneys often come with many benefits—which, above all, is their experience with civil claims.
Without having experience with these claims, you might find yourself confused as to their purpose and unaware of their seriousness. Because of this, you may need to consider the services of an attorney who could stand by your side during depositions and help you through your claim.
Depositions are like interviews under oath. The attorney for the other side has an opportunity to question the plaintiff or the defendant about the facts of the case as they remember them, as well as obtaining background information of the witness. It also gives the defense attorney an opportunity to ask our clients about their treatment, injuries, current conditions, things they used to be able to do that they are no longer able to do, and the general impact the accident has had on their life. The idea of a deposition is that each side has an opportunity to find out what the other party would testify to at trial. It lets the attorneys assess the parties as witnesses and to get a sense for what they would say and how they would come across to a jury.
There were only two depositions in the Toledo head-on collision case. Our client was deposed.
When we prepare clients for the deposition, we send them a copy of the interrogatories that they have already answered. We also send them a review of their medical treatment. We have a video link that we send out to them that talks about what a deposition is, why it is important, and some tips for how to prepare for it. For this case, we then sat down with the client, went over the crash report, and went over what she remembered about the events leading up to the accident, as well as her treatment afterward. We made sure that everything was fresh in her mind, that she was clear on how everything had happened, and what all of her treatment had been since then.
In addition to the client, the deposition was attended by one of the attorneys from our office, the attorney for the defendant, the defendant, and a court reporter.
At the deposition, the client was placed under oath by the court reporter. Then, the defense attorney asked her questions and our client answered truthfully, to the best of her ability, recollection, and knowledge.
To prepare for our deposition of the opposing party, we reviewed the statements that had been made at the scene of the accident. We also tried to talk to independent witnesses of the accident, and to follow up with the various passengers in the vehicle, as well. We also took a hard look at the statutes and the case law regarding left-hand turns to see what we would need to prove in our motion to establish liability.
The type of research we conducted on the defendant prior to the deposition included looking into his background, seeing if he had been involved in prior crashes, and finding out where he lives. We tried to see if we could take a look at his social media. There was not much we had access to because of the privacy restrictions he had on it. Generally, we tried to get an idea of what we could learn about him beforehand and then used that to tailor our questions for the deposition.
In this case, we did depose the opposing party, but we do not always. With them creating a liability dispute by claiming our client was partly at fault, we needed to depose the other driver to find out what his recollection of the collision was.
Our goal in deposing the other party was to find out what he would say about how this accident happened—if he eventually took the stand at trial. One of our goals was to find out if he ever looked for our client or if he ever saw oncoming traffic before he turned left. Obviously, she was in the intersection right around the time he turned, but he testified that he had never even seen her. We were hoping to get testimony from him that would support a potential motion on our client’s behalf, regarding who was at fault for the accident.
The importance of depositions in the Toledo head-on collision case is blatant. We needed to put the opposite side under oath and record their responses for use in motions or trial. The point of a deposition is that their testimony is under oath and, therefore, admissible. Even though we are in a conference room and not in a courtroom with a judge and jury, it is the same oath to tell the truth that somebody would take if they were in trial.
As a result, it requires the deponent to give truthful testimony. Because of this, the deposition transcript prepared by the court reporter may be used later at trial. Furthermore, if anybody testifies to something different at trial than they did in their deposition—since they were under oath both times—you could look at both of those statements.
Depositions in the Toledo head-on collision case were useful in two aspects. Not only did it allow us to understand how a defense team might approach the case, but it also allowed us the safety net of a sworn statement. If the defendant were to offer a different statement in court—if it came to court—we could review the depositions and pursue a course of action accordingly.
While depositions are a natural part of civil claims, it is beneficial for victims looking to pursue a claim against a negligent party to retain an attorney who could advocate for them. Call today for a consultation to learn more about depositions and how an attorney could help you.
Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC