What Happens at a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?
Most personal injury claims do not end up at trial. There is usually a settlement with an insurance company that occurs with simple negotiation. However, sometimes filing a lawsuit may be the best way to pursue maximum compensation and force the insurance company to properly evaluate a claim.
Even though a lawsuit may have been filed, the case still usually settles. Only 10 percent of filed cases actually get tried to a jury. There are many steps before a trial takes place, and a settlement could be reached at any point. One of those steps may be a deposition, where you and others are questioned about the facts and details of the case.
The experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorneys at TSR Injury Law discuss personal injury depositions, including the topics that are likely to be discussed, the implications of a deposition and how you can prepare yourself. If you are seeking compensation for an injury caused by another’s negligence, give us a call today. The initial consultation is free.
What is a Deposition?
When a lawsuit is filed, one of the pre-trial steps is discovery. This is the point where each side investigates the other side’s claims and defenses they plan to use at trial. The discovery process often involves depositions with the relevant parties and witnesses.
In depositions, the attorney(s) for the other party, often an insurance company, will ask you a variety of questions about what happened, and the claims made in the lawsuit.
Typically, people will be deposed in a conference room or an attorney’s office. Zoom is often used now with the Covid concern. The attorney questioning you or anyone else who is being deposed will probably be polite and friendly. The attorney’s goal is to get you reveal as much information as possible. This helps him or her to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a case and devise a strategy to use at trial.
There is only one deposition at a time, which means you will not be questioned at the same time as anyone else.
It is important to note a court reporter will be present to record what is said. You are required to participate in a deposition and the things you say will be used at trial. For example, your statements from a deposition may be brought up if they conflict with things you say at trial.
The defendant in the lawsuit does not need a subpoena to request a deposition, they simply need to provide notice.
What Should You Expect at a Deposition?
It is important to note TV and movies do a lot to dramatize depositions and other legal proceedings. In truth, depositions rarely look the way they do on TV, with a lot of shouting and finger pointing. As stated previously, the attorney questioning you wants you to reveal a lot of information. It is in his or her best interest to be nice.
Typically, there are certain kinds of information discussed in a deposition:
You will be asked to state your name, contact information, job and other details about your background. This will likely be done first, before you are asked about other things relevant to the case.
Your Physical Condition Before the Accident
One of the most important issues to be addressed by your lawsuit is how your physical health has changed since the accident. That means the attorney for the other party will need to assess what your health was like before the accident.
If you injured your left leg, the attorney may ask if you previously suffered any injuries to your left leg. He or she is probably looking for some reason to claim your injury is related to a situation that happened before the accident.
Discussing your condition in detail can be very important if you are claiming a brain injury or some other injury that is not visible to the naked eye, such as a concussion, soft-tissue injury or mental health issue.
What Happened in the Accident?
You may be asked numerous questions about the circumstances of your injury, including questions about:
- How it happened
- How you reacted
- The weather
- What you said after the accident
- Your mental state
It is important to work with your attorney to thoroughly prepare for these questions so you can present a clear picture of what happened. You want to avoid omitting important information or making contradictory statements, which could damage your credibility.
Your New Injury
You will also be asked about your diagnosis, how your injury has been treated, follow-up care, how you have been following your doctor’s orders and how the injury has affected you emotionally and financially. This is an important step as you can provide strong evidence of the value of your medical expenses and other damages related to your injuries.
Tips on Answering Questions at a Deposition
It is important to work with a licensed attorney to prepare for a deposition. He or she can help you prepare what to say and how to say it to help protect the value of your claim. Preparing for the deposition is almost as important as the actual deposition. TST Injury Law attorneys have done thousands of depositions and our experience can cover every possible scenario that may occur.
Here are some general best practices to adhere to in a deposition:
State the Facts
It is best not to go off on a tangent and get into your opinion of things. It is better to answer the question being asked in as straightforward a manner as possible. Stick to the facts and do not provide extra information you were not asked for.
Take Your Time
There is no need to rush your answers. Wait for the attorney to finish asking the question before answering. Stay calm, stick to the facts and ask for clarification if you are uncertain of what you are being asked.
Be on Time
Showing up well-groomed and on time is always important. It is best to avoid making small talk before the questioning begins.
Call TSR Injury Law Today for a Free Consultation
If you have questions about your claim, the attorneys are TSR Injury Law are standing by to help you. We understanding this is a difficult time for you. We have helped many injury victims over more than two decades.
Our firm has a proven track record of success, having recovered more than $150 million in compensation on behalf of our clients. There are no upfront fees for our services, and we are not paid unless you get paid.
TSR Injury Law. Millions Recovered. Call (612) TSR-TIME for assistance.