April 1, 2024

Depositions: An Essential Tool in North Carolina Personal Injury Cases

If you been injured in an accident caused by someone else in North Carolina, you may find yourself involved in a personal injury lawsuit. As your case proceeds, your attorney may mention something called a “deposition.” What exactly are depositions and why do they matter so much? In this article, we’ll unpack the ins and outs of these crucial proceedings.  

What Is a Deposition? 

A deposition is a legal proceeding where one party’s attorney gets to question someone under oath prior to trial. It usually takes place in a conference room or law office. A court reporter transcribes the questions and answers. Sometimes, the deposition is recorded on video too. The deponent (the person being questioned) must answer truthfully since they are under oath, just as if they were in court. The transcript or the video can be used as evidence at trial. 

Depositions serve several key purposes. They allow the attorneys to gather information necessary to assess how strong their case is. They also enable attorneys to pin witnesses down on important facts and details early on. If a witness changes their story later, the transcript can be used to show they contradicted their earlier sworn testimony.   

How Depositions Work in North Carolina Personal Injury Cases 

In a North Carolina personal injury case, depositions create opportunities to question the defendant and other witnesses. For example, if you were injured when a distracted driver rear-ended you in Randolph County, your attorney would likely want to depose that driver. They may ask questions like: 

  • What were you doing right before the collision?  
  • How fast were you driving? 
  • Did you see any road signs you ignored? 

Likewise, in a slip-and-fall case arising from an injury at a Davidson County business, your attorney may depose the owner about safety lapses. They could ask: 

  • When did you last inspect the area where the fall occurred? 
  • Were there any warning signs posted about the hazard? 
  • Had anyone else ever tripped there before? 

In addition to defendants, eyewitnesses to accidents can also be deposed. Their testimony locks in their story while their memories are fresh.  

Why Depositions Matter to Your Case 

Depositions profoundly impact cases. They flush out versions of events and pin down witnesses. This shapes litigation strategy and facilitates settlement talks. Understanding what happened, and each side’s prospective evidence, brings the parties closer to resolving the case. 

For injured people, being subject to a deposition can feel intimidating. But working with an attorney ensures you are prepared. Plaintiff depositions simply provide the facts, while the defense aims to discredit and poke holes in the case. An experienced lawyer prepares you to tell your story clearly and credibly.  

This information is provided by Harris Legal for general benefit, education, and interest. If you have a specific legal question, you should consult with an attorney.