When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, there are many complex procedures that both the defendant and victim must go through. Perhaps one of the most anxiety-inducing ones, however, is the deposition. This is likely because there is a lot riding on the deposition process. However, many people don’t know what to expect in a personal injury deposition.
A well-prepared, methodical deposition is crucial to the success of any case. To ensure you have an effective deposition, it is important to have a skilled personal injury attorney counseling you. The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm have decades of experience in advising clients through personal injury depositions. Serving the Northwest Louisiana area, Gordon & Gordon have the skills and resources necessary to ensure you are fully prepared for your deposition. In this post, we’ll inform you about what to expect in a personal injury deposition and the unfamiliar legal territory that comes along with it.
What is a deposition?
Before we cover what to expect in a personal injury deposition, let’s first cover the basics. A legal deposition is the process in which both parties gather more information from the defendant and claimant themselves. Once you or the other party receive a notice of deposition, participation from both sides is mandatory. If you want the case to move forward, you will have to take part in this necessary phase of the lawsuit.
The lawyer of the defendant will ask you, the victim, questions regarding the accident and the injuries you sustained. This may be regarding any facts or details relating to the accident. Your attorney at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm will do the same for the negligent party.
Depositions do not take place in a court. Instead, they generally occur in an attorney’s office. Inside the room will be your attorney, the other party’s attorney, a court reporter, the examiner, you (the deponent), and a videographer, if necessary. Sometimes, a deposition may require a video recording.
You will be under oath while completing your deposition. This means, just as if you were on the stand at trial, you must tell the whole truth to the best of your ability. Anything that you say will be recorded. If your case doesn’t settle before trial, whatever you say will likely come up in court later.
What are personal injury deposition questions?
The questions asked at a deposition, called interrogatories, are a vital component of a successful personal injury case. As it is part of the discovery phase in a personal injury claim process, both attorneys will ask the opposing side questions to learn more about the case. They aim to give both sides a better picture of what actually occurred from both points of view. However, there will be plenty more asked than simply “What happened?” Attorneys want to get to know the opposing party and their background as well as possible so they can effectively represent their own client.
What will I be asked in my personal injury deposition?
Depositions often follow a similar type of structure in regards to the types of questions asked. The opposing party’s attorney will likely begin with asking you about your background. This might include things like where you currently live, your occupational history, and any previous legal claims or criminal history.
The attorney will then spend some time diving into your medical history. They will inquire about any medical treatment or surgeries you may have had both before and after the accident. They may also inquire about any doctors you’ve seen previously, as they may want to follow up with them for their own investigation.
Once they gather enough information regarding your personal background, they will most likely inquire about the events leading up to the accident and injury. This is when you would give your account of the accident to the best of your ability.
The next thing you can expect the attorney to ask is for a description of the injuries you sustained. You should give a detailed account of all of the injuries that you’ve experienced since the accident. This may include both physical and mental trauma.
Finally, the attorney will finish up with questions about how your life has been impacted since the occurrence of the accident. Here, you should come clean about the stresses that have negatively changed your life since the defendant caused your injuries. You may want to include any limitations you’ve been met with as well as any burdens that have been placed on you.
What is a deposition like in a personal injury trial?
If you’ve ever seen a deposition on television or in the movies, you might be expecting something a bit more dramatic than what will be your reality. In a personal injury case, or any civil suit for that matter, depositions are often much less frightening. There is generally no angry shouting or table pounding. Instead, there will simply be respectful and professional communication between both parties.
The main goal of the opposing party’s lawyer is to get you to open up so they can learn more about the circumstances of the case. They understand that coming into it with an angry and dominating attitude will more likely shut you down than open you up.
How to prepare for deposition questions?
Your attorney will work to the best of their ability to properly prepare you for your deposition. The first thing the two of you must establish is what it is you are trying to prove. Therefore, you and your attorney should discuss in detail the most important factors of your case. This includes all of the key legal and factual issues regarding your claim. You must also understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case so you are familiar with what it is you need to focus on.
You will likely go over any previous statements you may have made. It is important that in the deposition, you don’t contradict any of these past statements. This can end up hurting your credibility and your case in general.
Your personal injury lawyer will then inform you of the type of questions that you can expect to be asked. They may also have you participate in a mock Q&A where they will have a list of questions that the opposing attorney is likely to ask. As you are under oath, it is important that you do answer truthfully. However, your attorney will coach you through the ways in which you ought to address and navigate certain things.
Remember not to volunteer any extra information if they do not specifically ask about it. The five preferred answers for a deposition are: Yes, No, I don’t know, I don’t recall, and I don’t understand the question.
One of the most important things to remember in your deposition is to take your time. Pauses will not be recorded on your deposition transcript. Listen carefully to what it is you’re being asked and make sure you fully understand the question before answering.
Can I give my deposition over the phone?
In the state of Louisiana, if all parties agree to a telephone deposition, one can legally occur. In addition, the court may specifically order that a deposition be conducted over the phone or other electronic means, such as videoconferences. This allows for instantaneous connection and often allows the proceedings to go forward more efficiently. It may also allow the deponent to feel significantly more comfortable and at ease if they are in a setting familiar to them rather than at a lawyer’s office.
To avoid any miscommunication, your deposition notice should clearly indicate that it will be occurring remotely via telephone or video. The notice should also specify where exactly each deponent will be located and how the other parties involved may appear.
Remote depositions are more likely to occur as of late because of the continuous spread of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing. Ask your attorney for more information as to how you might conduct your deposition over the phone.
Contact Shreveport Personal Injury Lawyers Gordon & Gordon
If you file a personal injury claim, there is a chance you may need to participate in a deposition. The idea of a deposition often brings people a lot of stress and anxiety, but it doesn’t have to. We hope this post was able to inform you a little more about what to expect in a personal injury deposition and calm any nerves you might have had. At Gordon & Gordon, we know what it takes to prepare our clients for all of the legal procedures within a case, including personal injury depositions. We fully commit to achieving excellent results and the best possible outcome for your personal injury case. If you have any further questions or would like to set up a free consultation, call 318-716-HELP to speak with the Shreveport personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm today.