Deposing the defendant or the driver of the other vehicle in an auto accident case will reveal some very important information that can be used during the trial. However, the way the deposition will go, will largely depend on the circumstances and personality of the driver. If the insurance company is covering the liability there are chances the defendant will be honest and straightforward, or could be close-mouthed and may not reveal anything useful.
It will largely depend on the ability of your lawyer to question the defendant driver based on his personality. The set of questions that are asked in a deposition of any auto accident case will be similar. However, at the deposition, your aim will be to accomplish these objectives:
- Finding out what the defendant’s side of the story is, which will be what the driver is going to testify at trial.
- Making the defendant commit to the main facts, so that he cannot change his testimony later
- Trying to get admissions that can strengthen your case
- Thoroughly investigating areas that are likely to hurt your case
The strategy to be applied at the deposition will mainly depend on the personality of the defendant and the manner in which he is answering questions. The usual strategy is for your lawyer to be non-confrontational and appear friendly. This may encourage the defendant to tell out or convey more information than what he might normally do. And there is nothing wrong with this!
This could happen at the chagrin of their own attorney or even the mediator but so what? That is not your concern and the truth should never be buried or ignored anyway.
A Different Tone; Another Tactic
However, if the driver is hostile, the strategy will have to be changed accordingly. Your lawyer will have to use the right tone to take control of the session and make it clear to the defendant that he is bound by duty to answer everything truthfully and fully. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, your lawyer will have to prepare a specific set of questions that highlight the negligence or fault of the defendant.