Navigating a personal injury case can feel like an overwhelming process, as there are so many necessary steps. An essential part of this process in a court filing is the deposition. You will need to understand what a personal injury deposition is and how you can best prepare for it.
Contact us today at JustCallMoe for legal representation from one of our experienced personal injury attorneys in Orlando.
What Are Personal Injury Depositions?
A personal injury case deposition is a formal question-and-answer session that happens before the actual trial. This is when the attorneys for both parties question the witnesses.
You would be questioned by the opposing attorney or insurance company during the deposition.
Even though this is not the actual trial, you are still going to be under oath during the deposition, and your answers may be used as evidence in court.
Depositions are part of the discovery process that allows both parties to collect information that supports their case. It allows opposing counsel to dig deeper into the case and get to know the other person’s side of the story.
Though formal, depositions are not nearly as serious as going to trial since the session will usually happen in a lawyer’s office. Despite this, you still need to remember that your answers could significantly impact your case, so you need to be prepared.
Are depositions important for personal injury cases?
Many people do not see personal injury depositions as important as the actual trial. While this is less formal of a setting where you aren’t going in front of a judge, it is still a vital aspect of your personal injury case.
Anything you say during the deposition could later be used by the opposing counsel at the trial.
You are also legally required to tell the truth under penalty of perjury, so you have to make sure you are answering as truthfully as possible. You also want to avoid providing more information than is necessary to answer the questions.
What Questions Are Asked During a Deposition?
Because a personal injury deposition is all about answering honestly, you need to know what material could be covered. The questions you’ll be asked at your deposition will differ depending on the details of the case, but they will usually follow a similar pattern.
Here are some examples of the types of questions you should prepare for:
- Background information: What is your current address of residence? Could you describe your employment history?
- Incident details: Can you provide a detailed account of how the accident happened? Were there any warning signs that you noticed before the accident occurred?
- Injury impact: How have your injuries impacted your ability to work? Have your injuries affected your quality of life physically or emotionally?
- Medical history: Have you ever experienced prior injuries similar to your current one? Have you received any medical treatments, surgeries, or procedures because of your injuries?
Who is Present at a Deposition?
If you have never gone through a deposition before, knowing what to expect is key. A deposition in a personal injury case usually involves a few individuals, including the opposing lawyer or insurance company, your personal injury attorney, and a court reporter.
The opposing counsel or insurance company is going to be the one who is asking you the questions during the deposition. Your personal injury attorney is there to protect your interests and guide you through the process of answering questions. They cannot necessarily object to questions, but they can explain it to you or ask that it be rephrased.
The court reporter is there to transcribe everything said at the deposition to create a written report. A videographer may also be at the deposition in some more complex cases to record the questions and answers.
How to Prepare for a Deposition
Before your deposition, make sure you are adequately prepared to answer the opposing counsel’s questions. Not only is this beneficial for getting a better outcome for your case, but it can also help reduce the stress of this process.
Review your case
You should go over the significant events and facts and understand the details of your claim and the circumstances of your accident. You can do this on your own, but reviewing your case with your attorney is recommended if you have any questions.
It is not uncommon to feel anxious before your deposition. Try practicing how the deposition will go with your attorney to reduce some of your nervousness. They can ask you the kind of questions you will need to answer and show you examples of how most depositions proceed. It is also a good idea to limit your responsibilities on the day of the deposition so that you can focus on the task at hand without other distractions.
Revisit the accident scene
If possible, it is very helpful to revisit the scene of the accident before your deposition. Visiting the scene can help you remember details you forgot, such as the weather, the road conditions, and the visibility at the time of the accident. Just like reviewing documentation, this can help you keep the information fresh in your mind to accurately answer questions.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you are being asked to participate in a deposition as part of your personal injury claim, you most likely need to prepare. This process could either positively or negatively impact your ability to get compensation. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side is very important for this stage, so take time to choose the right legal team. Contact us at JustCallMoe for legal representation from one of our personal injury lawyers.