A deposition occurs after a lawsuit is filed but before a personal injury case goes to trial. It is an oral statement made by a witness under oath. Depositions are conducted to find out what the witness knows while preserving the facts of their testimony. This can consist of either written or oral testimonies that are obtained by another attorney and used at trial. While the definition seems simple by practice, there are some important elements to keep in mind for a successful deposition.
A Deposition’s Purpose
Depositions are part of the discovery phase of a personal injury case, wherein all named parties have the right to conduct a formal investigation to learn more information about the nature of the claim. Being well-prepared for a deposition is critical, because any information obtained is likely to be used during trial as supporting evidence.
Cases often settle after the deposition of an injury client – the person who was injured – but before trial. Oftentimes, the insurance company uses the deposition to learn as much about the client, their medical treatment, and how the accident or injury has affected their life in order to have an understanding of an appropriate settlement value. When clients are prepared for their deposition, it enhances the possibility that their case settles before trial.
What to Expect During a Deposition
Often with personal injury cases, the deposition of an injury client will be conducted by the insurance company’s team of attorneys under oath. During the process, a court reporter will either transcribe or record the questions and answers and type them into a transcript to be considered by the jury. Some depositions are also video-taped.
During a deposition, the insurance company’s attorney will ask questions regarding how the accident or injury occurred. They will also ask about all injuries that an injury client has suffered and all medical treatment that an injury client has obtained. They do this in part to confirm information they already have, as well as to determine if there is anything new that they need to investigate further.
Preparing for a Deposition
Preparation is key to a successful deposition and should not be taken lightly. Remember, anything you say can and will be used as evidence, so taking care to provide calculated responses is a must. First prepare for your deposition with a personal injury lawyer to discuss things to keep in mind during the deposition. Then, review any court filings and other legal documents that may help you prepare for the questions that will be asked of you. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you narrow your focus to the important facts and documents that will come up.
During a deposition, remember the following:
- Do not rush, take time to listen and think about your answer before speaking
- Always tell the truth and leave out exaggerations
- Answer only what is being asked
- When possible, keep your answers short and simple
- Take care to be polite and courteous with your responses
Delivering confident, direct answers during your deposition will help support your claims and assist in a resolution, making it important to be prepared to answer.
Always consult with a personal injury lawyer before a deposition. Doing so will help strengthen your case and lead to favorable resolution. For auto accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and spinal cord injury cases; working with a personal injury attorney will help you prepare speaking points and important information to disclose.
If you are an injury victim seeking justice, contact the experienced team at Matthews Injury Law by calling 813-530-1000 or 941-877-5800. Marc Matthews and his team are committed to enforcing personal injury justice and have the extensive verdict history to prove that commitment.