Brian White | August 10, 2020 | Auto Accidents
A common tactic used by many defendants in motor vehicle accident cases is blaming the victim for the cause of the accident. The defendant creates a story that paints the defendant as being the innocent party. Even if the defendant can shift some of the blame to the victim, the defendant can avoid some liability for the cause of the car accident.
An experienced car accident lawyer understands this tactic. He spends time investigating the cause of the car crash to determine precisely what occurred. The lawyer may take numerous steps when investigating the collision to get to the truth, such as:
- Analyzing the physical evidence from the vehicles and the accident scene
- Interviewing witnesses and obtaining statements in depositions
- Searching for video evidence showing the collision from traffic cameras and surveillance cameras in the area
- Hiring experts, such as accident reconstructionists and engineers
- Review police reports and accident reports, including interview police officers
After a thorough investigation, the lawyer often deposes the defendant. Because the lawyer conducted a thorough investigation before the deposition, he has evidence he can use to rip apart the defendant’s false story about how the accident occurred.
How does the lawyer do it? Through cross-examination.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is testimony provided under oath. The testimony from a deposition is recorded by a court reporter and transcribed. The official record can be entered into evidence in court and used to impeach a defendant if he tries to change his story in court.
A skilled attorney allows the defendant to weave the false narrative. By asking open-ended questions, the attorney allows the defendant to add more details to his story. The more details a person lies about, the greater chance he is caught in the lie.
A Good Example of Why Lying During a Deposition is Not Advisable
We represented a couple who were injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the CEO of a tech company. The CEO was driving in the center turning lane for over a block. He encountered a white SUV that was in the lane properly to make a left-hand turn.
To avoid a head-on crash with the SUV, the CEO swerved into the right lane, thereby running our clients off the road. The CEO claims that he had just entered the turning lane and was about to turn left when the white SUV approached rapidly from the other direction. He veered right to avoid the head-on crash.
During the deposition, which you can access on our YouTube channel, Attorney Brian White spends several minutes allowing the defendant to answer simple questions about what led up to the accident. He has the defendant confirm that a center lane is only to be used as a turning lane. The defendant admits that you are not supposed to drive in the center lane.
Attorney Brian White continues to bring up driving in the center lane in different ways. Each time, the defendant affirms that he understands the center lane is a turning lane only.
A Google map is used to review the area and discuss where the defendant traveled right before the accident. Attorney Brian White spends time reviewing the streets and the businesses in the area. By doing so, the defendant begins to feel comfortable in pointing out where he entered the center lane and where the accident occurred.
The defendant begins to give detailed facts about the events using references to the map. He continues to deny that he was in the center lane for very long before he sees the white SUV speeding toward him.
Over and over, the defendant confirms that he did not travel in the center lane for very long, including that he did not cross an intersection in the center lane. Attorney Brian White had specifically had the defendant confirm earlier in the deposition that the defendant knew he should not drive through an intersection in the center lane.
This process of challenging statements made by a witness during direct examination is what cross examination is all about.
A Video of the Accident Scene Traps the Defendant in His Lie
Attorney Brian White shows the defendant a video of the crash from a store in the area. The defendant identifies his vehicle driving in the center lane, the white SUV, and the vehicle he ran off the road as he moved into the right lane.
The video clearly shows the defendant driving in the center lane through the intersection that he specifically stated he passed before entering the center lane. The defendant had to admit that his testimony earlier was incorrect.
By conducting a comprehensive investigation, Attorney Brian White located the video to help prove that the defendant’s statements were false. Through carefully crafted cross-examination questions and patience, he allowed the defendant to perjure himself during the deposition. When confronted with the video evidence, he could no longer blame the white SUV for causing the crash.