What To Expect At Your Personal Injury Deposition
Not every personal injury case goes to trial, but when it does, there is a good chance that you may be called on to have your deposition taken. What is a deposition, and is it something you should be worried about?
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is the other sides’ opportunity to hear what you are going to say when, and if, your case ever goes to trial. It is part of the larger, overall discovery process. Your attorney also will have the opportunity to take the deposition of witnesses for the other side.
Everything you say at your deposition is recorded and transcribed. That means that everything you say in your deposition, has to match what you will say when you are asked that same question later on in trial. That’s not hard to do—just tell the truth, as the truth never changes.
Depositions are usually taken in offices, not courtrooms, and often there are no judges present at the deposition. It is just you, lawyers for both sides, and the court reporter writing down your testimony.
What You Can and May be Asked
Deposition is for fact finding. That means that the other side can ask you a lot more than what it would be able to ask you in court on the day of your trial. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that a lot of questions are seemingly more about you, your background or your history, than they are about the actual accident.
You may find some of the questions about your background intrusive, or unnecessary. Your attorney will help you with these questions, although generally, so long as the questions aren’t abusive, insulting, or violate your privacy, they must be answered.
You can expect to be asked a lot of questions about the accident—some questions which you may not know the answer to. For example, if someone asks you “how fast was the car going when it hit you?” you may have no idea. That’s OK; you are allowed to say that you don’t know or that you don’t remember the answer to a question.
You can expect to be asked about any accidents or injuries you may have had in the past, before your accident, and what pain or symptoms you had or still have from those accidents. You can also expect to be asked about any lawsuits you may have been involved in.
Questions About Injuries
The other attorneys will ask you questions about your injuries. You should take some time before your deposition to think about all the ways your injuries have affected you, so you are prepared to say all of them in your deposition. This includes not just physical pain and disability, but mental or emotional trauma, side effects from medicines, or discussing the things you could do before the accident but which you can’t do—or can’t do as well—today.