After a car accident takes place, victims often decide to hold the negligent driver who caused the car crash accountable for their behavior. One way they do this is by pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. This can often result in an accident investigation and collection of evidence in the form of depositions and interrogatories.
When a witness provides testimony out of court but has been sworn in, this is known as a deposition. Parties use depositions to collect evidence that may or may not be used in a trial. Parties supervise the process individually since the court is not involved. All parties can question the witness and there is a limited opportunity to object to questions. Generally, depositions are considered hearsay and are not admissible at trial. However, the information gathered in the process gives each party an idea of the other's strategy and the information available to them. Additionally, depositions are admissible if one party admits something against their interest at the deposition or when their testimony contradicts what they said at the deposition.
Where a deposition is oral testimony, interrogatories are a list of questions that one party sends to the other. Once again, the recipient will be under oath, but a lawyer can help draft the answers to the questions, so they are often more thought out than an oral answer. While follow-up questions can be asked in a deposition, this is often not possible after getting the witness's statement.
The discovery process is very important in the investigation of a crash. The more one party discovers, the better prepared they are to discuss the accident, how it took place and the injuries caused by it. An experienced attorney can help accident victims through the process.