Accidents happen. If you’ve suffered physical harm through no fault of your own, you may decide to seek restitution through a personal injury lawsuit. Whether you’ve fallen down the stairs at a casino or met with disaster in some less-dramatic way, the legal process will follow the same prescribed path. As lawyers from both sides seek to learn the facts of the matter, you will likely receive an order mandating your appearance at a deposition.
What does such a summons mean? What will they expect you to say?
Understanding the Personal Injury Deposition
The question-and-answer period known as a deposition becomes an important tool for law firms as they attempt to glean information and ferret out the truth about the injury. During such a session, the person undergoing interrogation will answer under oath and in the presence of a recording device. A written transcription of the session will later serve as evidence in the case.
Although the process may cause you some alarm, a little knowledge of what to expect can alleviate your fears. The following types of question are the ones you’ll most likely encounter from the opposing lawyers.
Questions Concerning the Present Litigation
The most relevant inquiries will concern the matter at hand. Since lawyers for the opposing side want details on when, where and how your accident took place, they will likely ask you:
- Where did your injury occur?
- What were you doing at the time?
- Did you break any laws?
- Was someone with you?
- Did anyone else see the accident happen?
- Questions like these serve to determine not only who is at fault but also the extent to which you, the plaintiff, might share some of the blame.
Questions Concerning Your Physical Condition
To hone in on the magnitude of your grievances, lawyers for the defense will ask such questions as:
- What sort of physical harm did you suffer?
- Have you had this type of injury before?
- Did you seek medical assistance for your injury?
- Who treated you and where?
- How long were you under a doctor’s care?
- Have you lost some measure of ability to function?
- Are you now able to return to work?
To learn whether the damage you currently claim might have existed prior to the incident in question, attorneys for the opposing side are also likely to ask about previous injuries and illnesses that have occurred during your lifetime.
Questions That Seem Unrelated
The defense team will also want to know the details of any previous lawsuits in which you may have been involved. Were they insurance claims? Was there any property damage? Did workers’ compensation play a part? Where prior litigation is concerned, even issues as personal as divorce can sometimes come under scrutiny.
Lawyers for the defense may also try to cast aspersions on your character by asking whether you have a criminal record. If you do, they will want to know the details. They may also question you about your place of residence and employment history, particularly if you’re putting in a claim for lost wages.
Parts of their interrogation may seem entirely bizarre. Questions concerning your high school graduation, the color of your first car or your grandmother’s maiden name are their way of testing not only your memory but also your honesty quotient.
How to Behave at a Deposition
Answering questions at a deposition should not cause any undue anxiety. Just remember these caveats:
- Don’t respond until you’ve heard the entire question.
- Don’t guess at your answers. If you don’t know something or can’t remember, say so.
- Don’t volunteer additional information.
- Don’t get tricked into stating an opinion. You are only accountable for what you know.
- Answer truthfully. You will be under oath.
- Wait for several seconds before responding. This will give your defense attorney the chance to object to improper questions.
- Be cooperative.
- Don’t appear hostile, deceptive or evasive.
Keep in mind that everything you say in a deposition is likely to serve as evidence.
The Role of Your Personal Injury Lawyer
When you must make a deposition in your personal injury suit, the assistance of an attorney from the law firm from Weiner Law Group can be of immeasurable help. We can help you if you’re a resident of Las Vegas, NV or not. By helping you prepare beforehand and standing by your side in person during your testimony, we ensure that you sail through the legal process with the fewest complications and the lowest-possible level of anxiety. Call Weiner Law Group today for your legal matters at 702-202-0500 for a free consultation and learn what we can do for you.