HOW TO PREPARE FOR A DEPOSITION AS A PLAINTIFF IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT CASE
Your deposition is an important part of your case. It is often the only time the Defense Counsel will have an opportunity to meet with you face-to-face. You will want to dress appropriately for the deposition since the defense attorney will judge your conduct, appearance, and demeanor as a witness. Dress and prepare as if you were going for a job interview and take this opportunity to rehearse as though you were appearing in court.
WHY DO I HAVE TO GO THROUGH A DEPOSITION?
Be aware, there are several purposes of your deposition.
First, the defense attorney wants to see what kind of a witness you will be. If you demonstrate to the defense attorney that you are a likeable and honest person, your case will improve and the likelihood of obtaining fair compensation increases.
Second, the defense attorney will test your knowledge of the important facts in your case. For that reason, it is important to be honest, truthful, and as accurate as possible.
Third, the defense attorney may try to catch you exaggerating something about your case or, even worse, saying something that is not true. Even if you believe your answer may work against you, do not lie because even a minor lie or untruth can harm your credibility, which could jeopardize your chances of receiving fair compensation. If you do not recall an event or other fact accurately, be sure to indicate that your memory may be weak on such detail. If you do not understand a question, ask that it be repeated or rephrased until you are certain you know what the attorney is asking you.
Sometimes the defense attorney may ask a question which contains certain assumptions regarding important facts in the case. Be aware, just because the attorney asks these questions, that does NOT mean those assumptions are accurate. If the defense attorney makes an inaccurate assumption, be certain to point out how it is wrong. In other words, do not be led down a path that is not really accurate.
WHAT TYPES OF QUESTIONS WILL I BE ASKED IN A DEPOSITION?
You will likely be asked questions on distance, time, speed, measurements, lighting conditions, etc. that were involved in the accident. There are very few people who can accurately and precisely describe such measurements. Your answers don’t have to be 100% accurate in terms of such things but they do have to be reasonably accurate. For that reason, do not blindly guess when asked such questions. Do your best to give reasonably accurate responses, but let the attorney know your responses are estimates and likely aren’t 100% accurate. Prefacing your answer in such a way will help eliminate the chances the attorney can try to use minor inaccuracies in your answers to try and portray you as dishonest at trial.
KEEP CAREFUL RECORDS OF YOUR INJURIES
It is important that you have a good recollection of the actual injuries that happened to you. It is my suggestion that you think carefully about such injuries and write about them to help you remember. For example, you might want to record how they’ve progressed, the pain you’ve experienced, and the limitations your injuries have caused for you in terms of your ability to engage in activities you previously enjoyed. In the deposition, you will be asked about any prior injuries that you’ve had. Describe any previous injuries and if you do not believe that you have had any prior injuries, state that to the best of your knowledge.
You may be asked whether or not you have talked to anybody about your case. Do not be alarmed by such a question, as it is almost always asked during a deposition. You may answer truthfully by saying that you have discussed this case with your attorney, your family, friends, and possibly business associates. Your deposition is a very important part of your case. Therefore, please let your attorney know if you have any questions or concerns prior to deposition.