For a plaintiff (injured person) in a personal injury case, a deposition is a process which is used that allows the defendant’s attorney to ask a series of questions under oath while a court reporter takes down all the information to preserve it for the court record.
Generally, a deposition occurs in one of the two attorneys’ office and takes anywhere from 30 minutes to sometimes up to three hours. A deposition starts with general background information, including your name, address, family, educational and employment background as well as any history of prior injuries that you may have had. It is important that you testify truthfully at your deposition, not only because you are under oath, but also because it is likely that in regards to any prior accidents / injuries you may have related to a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall or workers compensation claim – the other side probably already knows about it! Insurance companies share information so it is likely that the insurance company already has done their work in determining if something else is out there. The truth is always the best approach.
The attorney deposing you will ask you questions about the accident. He or she will ask you questions like where were you going, where were you coming from, who was in the car with you, what was the weather like that day, had you consumed any alcohol or drugs on the date of the accident, how did the accident specifically occur, did you speak with anyone at the scene, were there witnesses, who called the police if anyone, was an ambulance called and was anyone cited in the accident. These are the basic questions – more follow ups on specific issues relating to your accident should be expected.
Once the motor vehicle accident is covered, then the deposition will shift to your injuries. The attorney will ask you where you treated and will often times go over all treatment in chronological order. They will ask questions like – did the treatment help and what was bothering you that made you seek treatment in the first place. They can ask you to rate your pain at the time of your treatment and they can ask you about specific references in your doctor’s reports. At this point in your case – the other side will have all of your medical records so they will be very familiar with your history.
The deposition will also cover any accidents or injuries that you sustained after the date of the accident that gives rise to the deposition. Each accident will be covered in detail to determine what injuries were sustained, if any. The attorney will ask you questions about lost wages and impairment of earning capacity if you are claiming either as well.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the attorney will ask you how you are feeling presently and what limitations, if any, that you may have as a result of the accident. The attorney will ask if there are things you no longer can do and things that are now much harder to do as a result of the accident. You should come prepared to discuss how the accident has impacted your life, whether it be your leisure activities, such as exercise, playing a sport or household chores, and also your life as a whole, whether it be driving a car, taking care of your yard or spending time with kids or grandkids.
Remember, your deposition is your chance to show the other side what type of person you are. They are forming impressions about you as a person – specifically, how a jury will react to you. Your goal is that they go back to their office and say, “If I try this case, a jury will like that plaintiff.” If they do that, it will push settlement and increase the value of your case. They will pay more to keep a good plaintiff away from a jury.
As a Hamden CT personal injury attorney, I work tirelessly toward securing the compensation you need to pay for all accident-related costs, including medical care and lost income, as well as pain and suffering. Your award may also include compensation for property damages, such as any damage done to your vehicle. You and your family shouldn’t have to experience financial strain after your accident. Hold the liable party responsible by filing a claim with my help. I am not afraid to stand up to insurance companies in pursuit of fair compensation for my clients.