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If you have been injured in an accident and have a court case pending you will likely be asked to submit to an examination under oath, more commonly known as a deposition. A deposition is an under-oath statement that is given in either a courtroom or an office. During a deposition, you will be sworn in and asked numerous questions about your accident, injuries, and treatment. Since you are under oath you are required by law to tell the truth. Failing to do so could result in being charged with the crime of perjury.
A deposition is a key part of a personal injury case. Often, a case will not be resolved until after the depositions are held. It is therefore always in a plaintiff’s best interest to get the deposition done. But often, depositions get adjourned for months and months, so you may be wondering why this is happening. There are a couple of reasons behind your deposition getting adjourned. Here are some of the most common causes for adjourning a deposition.
The most common reason a deposition gets adjourned is scheduling conflicts. A deposition requires the attendance of several people. The plaintiff’s attorney and defendant’s attorney must be available, as well as the parties to the lawsuit. As a plaintiff’s attorney, I usually am always available to conduct depositions. However, defense attorneys often double and even triple book deposition dates. This is both out of necessity and is sometimes also strategic.
An insurance company’s defense attorney usually has an extremely busy caseload. They are often overworked and underpaid. This leads to scheduling conflicts that may cause an adjournment of your deposition, but an adjournment is also a delay in the ultimate resolution of the case, which of course benefits the defense attorney’s client. The longer their client can hold on to their money, the better off they are.
A court will often give a defense attorney a few adjournments before they will require them to conduct a deposition. Generally, a judge will allow at least two or three adjournments before demanding the depositions go forward.
Another reason a deposition may get adjourned would be to gather the necessary medical records for the deposition. In a personal injury case, the attorneys will want to review all the medical records before conducting the deposition. This sometimes is time-consuming if there are voluminous medicals. Also, if a medical provider is not organized it can cause delays in getting the required records.
Another reason a deposition can get adjourned is if paper discovery is not complete. For example, there may be documents such as contracts or leases, photos, or drawings that all need to be gathered and disclosed before the deposition. If this is not done in time the deposition will have to be adjourned.
While it may seem endless, your deposition will happen sooner or later. As the saying goes, the wheels of justice move slowly! But even in today’s congested court system, they do eventually move.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.