A personal injury deposition is an attorney’s opportunity to question a party or a witness in a lawsuit regarding any matter that is related to the lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer from our law firm will be with you at all times during your deposition.
Preparing for Your Injury Deposition Can Make All the Difference
When you’re preparing for your injury deposition, you may have many questions. Here are some of the most common questions from clients:
- Where is the personal injury deposition held?
A deposition will usually be held at either our office or the other lawyer’s office. Occasionally, a deposition will be held at a room in the local Courthouse.
- Who is at the personal injury deposition?
A personal injury attorney from our law firm will always be with you at the deposition. We will be with you at all times during questioning, along with the lawyers representing the other parties. A stenographer will also be there recording your testimony. On some occasions, other parties or witnesses in the lawsuit will also be there having their injury deposition taken.
- Do I have to make an appearance?
Yes! If the lawyer for the party you are suing wants to take your deposition, he is entitled. If necessary, an attorney can get a Court Order forcing you to appear at your deposition.
- What if I get sick?
We encourage you to show up for a scheduled deposition. We understand it is not always possible, and unless it is a Court Ordered Deposition, nothing bad will happen if you fail to appear. Very often, depositions are canceled by one side or the other at the last minute. Sometimes, one of the personal injury lawyers involved in the case will be assigned to a trial at the last minute. Trial assignments take precedence over depositions, and the deposition must be rescheduled. As a precaution, we suggest that you call the office the day before to confirm the deposition.
- What will I be asked?
Possibly anything and everything related to your accident or injury case. Remember, you are the one that brought the lawsuit; therefore, the Court gives the other side great leeway in asking questions. This includes almost anything else that might relate to your claim for money damages.
- Is it important?
Absolutely. Remember, your testimony is being recorded. It doesn’t look good for your case if you say something different at the trial or arbitration than you did at the deposition. That is why it is necessary to be just as prepared for this deposition as you would be for a trial or arbitration.
- How should I dress?
The insurance company attorney will make a recommendation to settle or not to settle your case based upon not only your testimony but also the way you appear and act. Dress neatly. If possible, wear a suit or a dress.
- How should I act?
We suggest that you act as polite and cooperative as possible. As with your dress, the other attorney will be evaluating you based upon your attitude and demeanor at the deposition. He has to advise the insurance company what kind of witness you make in front of a jury or arbitration panel. He knows that juries and arbitration panels give more money to polite and cooperative people than they do to rude and arrogant people.
- Should I prepare?
Yes, as much as possible. You will be meeting with someone from our office at least two hours before the deposition. If we don’t think you are prepared, we will cancel the deposition and reschedule. Remember, the other attorney has a lot of leeway in the questioning he or she wishes to ask you.
You should be able to answer all questions with regard to the accident scene, even if it means going back to the accident scene. You should be able to answer all questions with regard to the doctors you treated with and the times you treated. You should be able to answer all questions with regard to the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident. What hurts? When did it start to hurt? Does it still hurt? When did it stop hurting?
- How do I describe my injuries?
With regard to your personal injuries, you should be prepared to state how the injuries affected your life on a day-to-day basis. For example, a person with a very painful back is going to have difficulty lifting things. A person with a bad neck may have difficulty driving because he can’t turn his neck. You should think about these things. Think about your typical day in and out of work. Think about the things you do on these typical days. Think about how your particular injury affected your life.
Remember to write all of this information down. It’s very possible that you may forget on the day of your deposition.
You should be prepared to discuss any financial losses. Did you lose wages? If so, how did you calculate these lost wages? Did you have to pay somebody to help you around the house? If so, who and how much? You should review any materials we send you, including previous statements and medical records. For example, doctors sometimes make mistakes in writing their reports. You should review the reports and make notes of any mistakes that they made. Also, doctors sometimes put comments you made to them down in their records. You should review these statements you made in case you are questioned about them.
Your deposition is just as important as the trial or arbitration. Maybe more so. It may go a long way toward causing or preventing your case from settling. The reason your case is in suit is because it hasn’t settled. A good deposition may cause the insurance company to re-evaluate its position and consider settlement. A bad deposition may convince the insurance company that there is no need to settle because you have no chance of winning the case.
*Make every effort to be as sincere and truthful as possible. Getting caught in an obvious lie can ruin your case.
While I have requested that you be prepared, you are not expected to know everything. It is all right if you don’t remember some details. Sometimes the stress of a deposition causes people to forget. If you don’t remember something, don’t guess. I would rather you state that you don’t remember than give a wrong answer. If you are not sure of something, but the other attorney presses you for an answer, make sure you tell him you are not sure and are either guessing or giving the best answer you can remember. Someone from our office will be there to make sure that it is clear on the record.
Remember, the key to a deposition is preparation, preparation, and more preparation. We will be there with you, but we can’t answer the questions for you. Take the time and do it right. It will pay off in the end.