If someone gets hurt physically and the injury is caused by the negligence of another person or entity, he or she has what we refer to as a Personal Injury Case. Once you file a lawsuit in a personal injury case, the opposing counsel has a right to find out what information you have about the accident and your injuries. Preparing properly can help make your experience less intimidating. The best way to understand what to expect, is to talk to your attorney about it. Below is information of what you can expect from a personal injury deposition and the questions you may get asked.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is a method lawyers use to find out more information that they can use at a trial, it can be taken of anyone who may have relevant information pertaining to the case. With a personal injury case, the person questioned can be the victim of the accident, a witness or the person who is accused of causing the accident. Depositions are usually taken place in an attorney’s office, not at court. A court reporter will be present to record everything that is said and record what happens during your deposition. Usually what you say in a deposition can be used in court later, this is only if your case doesn’t settle before going to trial.
What Can You Expect From a Deposition?
The first step is for the court reporter to swear you in, meaning you are under oath. Then you will be asked a numerous amount of questions about your past, and your injuries. As long as you tell the truth, there is very little to worry about. You attorney should be present throughout the whole deposition. They are there to protect you from improper questions. If your attorney objects, cease from talking further and let the attorney finish the objection and then they will let you know weather or not to answer the question. Once your deposition starts, you cannot talk to your attorney about your testimony. You have the right to be comfortable and if you would like to take a break the attorney should accommodate you.
What Kinds of Questions Will They Ask?
You will be asked numerous questions about the accident and your background. Your attorney will review with you specific questions they believe will be asked before your deposition.
- Where were you coming from?
- Where were you going?
- What were you driving or riding?
- Was it day or night?
- What was traffic like at that time?
- Had you had anything to drink or taken any medication in the prior 24 hours?
- Were you distracted by your phone, kids, etc.?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would rate this impact?
- You will then be asked if you called the police. What did you tell the police at the scene or at the hospital?
- They will go through your medical history.
- Did you ever complain of a back ache before?
- Have you ever been in a prior accident?
- Any surgeries?
- Any medications?
- Have you been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, which means lying, cheating, or stealing?
- Have you filed prior lawsuits?
- List the places you have worked for the past 10 years.
- Have you been fired? At the time of the accident, how many hours per week did you work? What did you do specifically?
- List all your medical providers. Why was there a gap in treatment of days?
Below are a few rules that your attorney may tell you that are necessary for you to follow before your deposition.
- Tell the truth.
- Listen to the question asked.
- Answer only the question asked. For example, in regular conversation, we tend to anticipate the next question. If you are asked “do you know what time is it?” The answer is yes or no, NOT 9:30.
- If you do not understand the question, it is perfectly fine to ask them to ask it a different way. Don’t assume they are asking something, unless it is specified.
- It is perfectly acceptable to say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” It is NEVER okay to guess.
- Always answer orally, everything is being recorded. Do not shake your head. If there are three males involved, do not keep saying “he”, use their name or other qualifying adjective.