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Interrogatories and depositions: What are they?

by | Oct 5, 2021 | Motor vehicle wrecks

After a car crash, the vast majority of legal claims end up settled through negotiation. When your injuries are serious, however, it may not be easy for you and the other parties involved to find common ground.

The closer you get to ending up in court, the deeper the discovery stage of your lawsuit will become. That’s when you will probably have to submit an interrogatory and go through a deposition.

What’s an interrogatory?

Despite their name, interrogatories aren’t actual interrogations. Instead, they’re a set of written questions from the opposing side that you have to answer (in writing and under oath).

Interrogatories are often designed to elicit a broad range of information about the facts of the case, your version of events, the injuries you suffered and the losses you’re claiming. Generally, you have 30 days to answer, so you can be careful (but always truthful) in your responses.

What’s a deposition?

Depositions, by contrast, are live fact-finding missions. While interrogatories are only completed by the parties directly involved in a case, depositions may be taken from the parties, witnesses to the accident, medical experts and more. In addition, depositions are recorded (sometimes by a court reporter and sometimes with video).

Done correctly, the deposition process should reveal the strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the case. Like interrogatories, depositions are taken under oath. They also preserve testimony in case a witness later dies or changes their story.

When you’ve experienced life-changing injuries as the result of another driver’s negligence, the thought of going through a lawsuit to get what you deserve can seem overwhelming. The more you learn and demystify the process, however, the less intimidating it may be.