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how depositions affect personal injury cases

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 30, depositions are a witness’s sworn, out-of-court testimony used for gathering information.

Depositions are some of the most critical and productive devices available during the discovery stage of a New York personal injury lawsuit.

Further, depositions provide one of the only opportunities for a lawyer to speak directly with the opposing party before trial.

Accordingly, depositions are one of the best opportunities to learn about witnesses, assess their credibility, and evaluate the merits and strength of the other party’s case.

New York law also has specific rules about depositions, which every accident victim should understand before attending a deposition. 

Types of Depositions in New York

In most cases, a personal injury deposition does not involve the court, and the process can be either oral or written. 

Oral Depositions

The deposing party will initiate and supervise the questioning during oral depositions.

Generally, the only people present during these processes are the deponent, attorneys for both sides, and an individual qualified to administer oaths.

Sometimes, a court reporter will be present to transcribe the event; however, electronic recordings are becoming more common.

Written Depositions

In these cases, the parties submit questions in advance, and the deponent responds to only the questions they received.

Written depositions do not require attorneys, oath administrators, or court reporters to be present.

However, these are less useful because there is little opportunity to ask follow-up questions or assess credibility effectively.

While there are pros and cons to either type of deposition, it is essential that individuals consult with an attorney to discuss a deposition outline for their personal injury case.

Commonly Asked Questions at Depositions

The questions presented at depositions depend heavily on the type of case and desired outcome.

However, the parties will generally inquire about personal background information, details of the incident, injuries one suffered from the incident, and life after the event or injury.

Are Deposition Answers Admissible in Court?

Information garnered from a witness deposition is crucial to preparing a case.

While deposition statements are usually hearsay, certain exceptions may affect the admissibility of these responses. 

For instance, the court may allow depositions to be presented as evidence when:

  • The party admits something against their interest;
  • The witness testimony contradicts their deposition; or
  • The witness is unavailable at trial.

In addition to these Federal rules and regulations, there are specific deposition rules that apply in a New York personal injury deposition.

What Types of Objections Are Allowed During Depositions?

Although the rules applicable during hearings or trials differ from the rules during depositions, there is some overlap. Attorneys maintain the ability to object to specific questions.

Allowable objections include:

  • Asked and answered,
  • Harassment,
  • Privilege,
  • Form of the question, and
  • Calls for legal conclusions.

Improper objections include:

  • Hearsay,
  • Objections related to opinions, and
  • An answer assumes facts that are not in evidence.

Despite these rules, certain objections fall into a discretionary area. An experienced attorney can assess the propriety of questions falling into these gray areas.

Your attorney can also help prepare a deposition outline for personal injury victims, so they know what to expect.

The information provided on this page speaks in general terms. Of course, there are often exceptions that apply in certain situations.

For a complete list of all exceptions, please consult the Consolidated Laws of New York.

Attorney Naima is also happy to answer any questions you have about your injuries or ability to pursue a claim against the responsible party.

We Can Help

If you or a loved one was recently injured in any type of accident, reach out to the Law Offices of Theodore A. Naima. Attorney Naima is a respected New York personal injury lawyer with more than 25 years of hands-on experience helping his clients obtain the compensation they deserve.

He offers free consultations to all accident victims and never bills for his services unless he recovers compensation on your behalf.

To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, call 516-280-7311 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

Author Photo

Theodore A. Naima

Theodore A. Naima is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Theodore A. Naima, a Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Law Firm based in New York. In 2015, Ted was awarded the prestigious AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, the company that has long been recognized as setting the gold standard for lawyer ratings, signifying the highest degree of peer recognition and professional excellence.

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