What is a Deposition in a Personal Injury Claim?
A deposition is one tool that attorneys can use during the discovery process of a civil lawsuit to interview parties or witnesses for a case. A deposition can be a powerful tool if used correctly.
Below, the experienced Macon personal injury lawyers from Roden Law explain what to expect at a deposition, including questions that are often asked. If you hire our firm, we can prepare you for a deposition so it may help bolster your case.
How a Deposition Works
A deposition involves a lawyer asking the person being deposed (the “deponent”) a series of questions about a pending case, generally under oath. A court reporter records this information and later turns it into a written transcript. Generally, anyone with knowledge about a case can be compelled to appear at a testimony, with some exceptions.
A deposition is often used to gather important facts and details about a case. It can also be used to lock a person into testimony in case their version of events changes later at trial.
The deponent will receive notification of the deposition through his or her attorney. The notice of deposition will state the time, date and location of the deposition.
At a deposition, you will first be sworn in. You will be seated and the opposing attorney will begin asking you questions. The court reporter will communicate the questions and answers into a special device, and the recording will later be turned into a written transcript.
Your lawyer may make limited objections while you are being asked questions by the opposing attorney. Depending on your lawyer’s strategy, your lawyer may also ask you a series of questions to which you respond. After the deposition, you and your attorney will have a chance to review the written transcript and make corrections.
The goal of a deposition is to obtain important information about the facts of a case that can be used during the trial. Additionally, a deposition gives the insurance company a better idea about how a particular accident victim will appear in front of a jury. A deposition can also help both sides identify the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Questions You May Be Asked
You may be asked a variety of questions about yourself and your claim, such as:
- Where did the accident occur?
- When did the accident occur?
- How did the accident occur?
- Have you ever filed a personal injury claim before?
- Have you ever filed a lawsuit before?
- Have you ever been sued?
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
- Did you have a prior injury to the same portion of the body that was affected by the accident?
- Where were you traveling on the day of the accident?
- Did you have anything to drink or take any medication near the time of the accident?
- What injuries did you sustain?
- What type of treatment have you received?
- What speed were you traveling at during the time of the accident?
- Have you spoken to anyone other than your lawyer about the accident?
- What is the nature of your claim for damages?
- Were there any witnesses to the accident?
- Did you follow all of your doctor’s recommendations after the accident?
- Did you miss any work after the accident?
- How has the accident affected your life?
Tips on Handling a Deposition
It is important to be conscious of your behavior and words during a deposition because you will be audio recorded and possibly video recorded as well.
- Be polite. Keep a professional demeanor throughout the process.
- Be concise. Many lawyers will try to act friendly towards you in an attempt to get you to open up and say something to use against you. Keep your answers brief and accurate.
- Avoid giving opinions. Instead, stick to the facts. It is fine to ask clarifying questions if you do not understand a question.
- Listen to the question. Do not attempt to finish a lawyer’s question for him or her. Wait for the full question and respond just to this question. You can also pause for a few seconds to consider your answer before responding.
- Be honest. Remember that you are under oath and you need to provide truthful answers. However, it is fine to say “I don’t remember” or “I don’t know” if this is an honest answer.
- Practice with your lawyer beforehand. This will give you a better idea of what to expect.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer for Help with Your Deposition
At Roden Law, we understand how anxious you may feel about the possibility of a deposition. If you hire us, we can help you prepare for your deposition so you know how you could help strengthen your case.
Contact us today to learn about your legal options. There are no upfront fees for our services.