If you have filed suit against an at-fault driver or other negligent party, you should understand that you are now dealing with a historical and regimented legal system that includes several steps. To get from the moment of your injury to the ultimate goal, compensation, can seem like a long journey. It may help to know a little about the process, and one of your first encounters in the personal injury process will likely be the deposition. Read on to learn what you need to know about depositions and be prepared.

1. The deposition will occur after you have filed suit but before your trial actually begins. It can be thought of as an important part of trial preparation for both sides, and is part of the pretrial process called "discovery". This vital time period allows the attorneys to share information about evidence, witnesses and more. At a deposition, in particular, all involved parties are questioned under oath, including you.

2. While you may dread having to answer questions from the other attorney, you should be somewhat heartened by the possibility of having the entire personal injury process cut short as a result. At any time during the deposition or afterward, the opposing side may decide to offer you a settlement. Court is time-consuming and expensive for all concerned, and once the other side sees what they may be up against at trial, a monetary offer may be on the table.

3. If you have ever seen a court trial on television or in person, you will notice some similarities with a deposition. There is testimony given under oath, and both sides take turns questioning people. The entire deposition is recorded and there is also often a court reporter present. Objections may be raised by either side, but since there is no judge present to preside over the deposition, the objections are noted in the record and the proceedings move on. If a party refuses to attend the deposition, subpoenas may be issued to compel their presence.

4. If you view your deposition as a practice session to court, the experience can help you to be prepared for your own day in court. Take some time to refresh your memory of the accident by reviewing your medical records, the accident report, photos etc. so that your can easily answer questions about the event. Your legal team may even assist you by holding question and answer "mock deposition" sessions.

To learn more about what to expect with your deposition, talk to your personal or car accident attorney.