When you are involved in a car accident and can’t reach a settlement deal with the at-fault party, you will be forced to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the case goes to trial, you will have to testify before a judge and jury about what happened.
During the trial, a discovery phase will occur where both sides can request information and evidence from each other. You may be asked to give a deposition as part of this process.
A deposition is a sworn statement that is given under oath. You will be asked questions by the attorney representing the other side in the case, and your answers will be recorded.
The attorney will use your deposition testimony to try to prove that you were at fault for the accident or that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
It is essential to be prepared for your deposition to give accurate and complete answers to the questions asked. Here are five things you should know about giving a deposition in a car accident case:
1. Practice framing your answers with your attorney
It is crucial to have an experienced car accident lawyer by your side when you are involved in a crash. Your lawyer will be able to help you prepare for your deposition by going over the questions that are likely to be asked and helping you frame your answers.
Your attorney will also be able to object to any leading or harassing questions that the other side’s attorney may try to ask.
Framing your deposition answers usually starts with short and precise responses to the questions asked.
You should avoid giving long-winded answers or going off on tangents. Remember that the other party’s attorney will be taking your deposition in an attempt to trip you up, so it is essential to be careful about what you say.
Be truthful in your answers, but do not offer any information that is not asked for, even if you think it will help your case.
2. Listen carefully to the questions that are asked
The attorney asking the questions during a deposition will often try to trick you by rephrasing the question or asking a question that is worded in a confusing way.
It is important to listen carefully to each question that is asked and to ensure that you understand what is being asked before you answer. If you are unsure about a question, ask the attorney to clarify it before you provide an answer.
3. Know when You should not give an answer
The truth is that not every question asked during a deposition needs to be answered. Sometimes, your attorney may object to a question and instruct you not to answer it.
Certain types of information are protected by the law and cannot be disclosed during a deposition.
This includes information about your medical history unrelated to the car accident, privileged information (such as information discussed during attorney-client meetings), and other types of sensitive information.
4. Be professional and respectful
The deposition process can be stressful, especially if you have never been through it before. It is vital to remain calm and professional throughout the process, even if the other side’s attorney is being rude or aggressive.
If you become emotional or angry, it will only worsen the situation and could hurt your case. Remember that everything you say during the deposition can be used against you in court, so it is vital to remain calm and collected.
5. Come prepared
The worst mistake you can commit is not being prepared for your deposition. This is not the time to try to wing it.
You should review all of the documents related to your case with your attorney before your deposition to familiarize you with the facts of the case.
In addition, you should review any questions that the other side’s attorney is likely to ask so that you can be prepared to answer them.
Your attorney will also likely go over strategy with you so that you know what to expect during the deposition.
Some common questions that are asked during a car accident deposition include:
- What is your name, address, and phone number?
- What is your date of birth?
- What is your employment history?
- What is your educational background?
- Do you have any prior injuries?
- Tell me about the car accident.
- Describe your injuries.
- Have you sought treatment for your injuries?
- How have your injuries affected your life?
- Do you expect to incur any future medical expenses?
- Do you expect to miss any time from work?
- Have you lost any earning capacity as a result of your injuries?
- What is the value of your case?
Your attorney will likely go over each of these questions with you so that you know how to answer them in the most beneficial way to your case.
The deposition process can be daunting, but by following these tips and working closely with your attorney, you can feel more confident going into it.
Remember, the goal is to provide the insurance company with as much information as possible while protecting yourself and your rights.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer.