If you are involved in a car accident litigation, you will likely be called upon to participate in a deposition. This may be your first experience dealing with a lawsuit, and not knowing what to expect can make an already unfamiliar process seem intimidating and even nerve-wracking.
Read on to learn what the process of a deposition entails, the most common questions you will likely be asked, as well as tips on what to do before and during the deposition.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is the part of the “discovery” phase of a litigation in which an attorney asks you questions related to your car accident case. This is so that both sides can be fully informed about the details of the case. The defense has a right to receive any relevant information and evidence so that they can prepare for trial if the lawsuit doesn’t settle. The person being deposed, referred to as the “deponent,” is sworn in, so that all statements are given under oath. Besides the attorneys, a court reporter will also be present to document everything that transpires during the deposition.
Here are some of the topics you will likely be asked about:
- General information, such as your name, age, and place of residence.
- Personal information, such as details about who is in your family or household, your educational background, and your professional background.
- Your criminal record, if applicable, or any tickets you may have received as a result of the car accident.
- A description of the accident.
- When did it happen?
- How did it happen?
- Who was involved and/or present at the time of the accident?
- Information about injuries.
- How and at what point during the accident did you become injured?
- What kind of injuries did you sustain?
- What was your condition before and after the accident?
- Information about treatment for your injuries.
- Were you medically treated for your injuries?
- Who treated you, where were you treated, and how many times were you seen by a doctor for your injuries?
- What kind of treatment did you receive, and what was the cost of treatment?
- Details about the repercussions of your injuries.
- Did you have to miss work due to your injuries? If so, how many days of work did you miss?
- Are you still able to perform your job?
- Have your injuries left you disabled in any way?
It is important to prepare your answers carefully, making sure that they reflect a truthful and accurate account of events leading up to, during, and following the accident.
Other helpful tips for deposition day
There are other important tips you can follow to ensure your deposition goes as smoothly as possible, including:
- Dress professionally. If your appearance is too casual or ungroomed, you could be perceived as not taking the situation seriously. This may make your claims appear to lack credibility. It doesn’t matter where your deposition takes place, either; make sure you dress accordingly.
- Listen carefully to each question and pause before answering. This not only gives you a moment to ensure your answer is as accurate as possible; it also gives your attorney the opportunity to raise any objection he or she may have.
- Only offer information you know to be true. Never guess or speculate about an answer. If you don’t understand a question, or aren’t sure about an answer, it is okay to say “I don’t know,” or “I don’t understand.” Make sure you are fully aware of what you’re being asked before answering.
- Answer questions in the most concise way possible. Don’t provide unnecessary details or any more information than was asked in the question.
- Always listen to and follow your attorney’s directions. Keep in mind that he or she may raise an objection to a question that was posed to you. Wait until you are compelled to speak again before answering further questions.
Even making use of the above tips and preparatory advice, you may still have additional questions about your upcoming deposition. One of the best ways to make sure you are fully prepared is to seek legal advice from a competent car accident attorney. Here at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., we can take some of the stress and mental workload off of your plate by answering your questions, building a strong case, and working with you to get you ready for your deposition. To schedule a free consultation about your case, please call our office or submit our contact form.