Part of going through the legal process for a personal injury is telling your story. One way you will share what happened to you and how the results of the accident impacted your life is through a personal injury deposition.
What Is a Personal Injury Deposition?
A deposition is a part of the legal process wherein a plaintiff, defendant, or witness gives sworn testimony. The witness is under oath and compelled to answer questions from both sides of a legal dispute. Depositions are held at a lawyer’s office or in a nearby courthouse. A court reporter is usually present during a deposition and responsible for transcribing the interview into a print document.
A personal injury deposition typically takes place in the discovery phase — the time after the lawsuit has been filed and before a settlement is made. The personal injury deposition is used to collect facts and evidence about the case.
If you are the injured party in a personal injury case, a deposition will be very important to your case. It is your opportunity to prove points of your case and provide information about how the injury happened and how it has impacted your life.
How To Prepare for a Personal Injury Deposition
Don’t go into a deposition unprepared. Work with a personal injury attorney to prepare so you feel confident and comfortable going into the deposition.
Write down your story. Going into your deposition, you should know the details of your story inside and out. To help you remember each detail and fact, write down your story to get everything out on paper. Recount:
- Details of the accident
- Injury and damage descriptions
- Life after the accident
(Note: You may not be able to take your notes to the deposition as they could be considered as evidence. Look for guidance from your attorney about whether or not to bring notes to your deposition.)
Review weak points in your case. If you are the one who has sued for personal injury, the other party is going to do what they can to try and fight your case. They are going to look for weak points in your story to help their case. Before your personal injury deposition, review the points that you believe the other side will try to make. Prepare answers for those questions, and be ready for the defense attorney to push you on issues that will show weaknesses in your story.
Practice. One of the benefits of working with an experienced personal injury attorney is that they will know what to expect during a deposition and help you practice for what it will be like. Go through mock depositions so you feel comfortable fielding questions and giving your answers.
Get rest the day before. You want to be well-rested and clear-headed the day of your personal injury deposition. The day before, take care of yourself and get a good night of sleep.
Tips for Getting Through Your Deposition
Planning ahead is one of the best tips for getting through a personal injury deposition. Use these other best practices to successfully navigate the process.
Take your time. Don’t rush through the questioning. When asked a question, take a moment to run it through your head. Before you speak, make sure you fully understand the question and how you want to respond. If you don’t understand the question or it seems vague, ask for clarification before offering information.
Don’t volunteer additional information. You are required to answer questions during a deposition, but you are not required to offer supporting details. Don’t guess. Don’t fill in the blanks. If you don’t remember or know the answer, say so. If asked a yes or no question, simply respond with a yes or no.
Take it seriously and remain calm. A deposition is not the time to make jokes or show anger. Focus on sticking to the facts, and be professional and polite. Don’t argue with the attorney or include sarcastic comments. Avoid small talk and be as straightforward and concise as possible.
Always tell the truth. You are under oath during a personal injury deposition. It is your obligation to tell the truth, and you should never lie. Lying during a deposition can come back to hurt your case if the other side can show that you were not truthful.
Let your attorney lead you. When you have a trusted personal injury by your side, look to them for guidance throughout the process. If you aren’t sure how to answer something or need clarification, speak privately to your attorney. If your attorney objects to any questions, wait until you are instructed to answer before providing information. An experienced attorney will know how to best guide you through the process.
Start Preparing Your Personal Injury Case Today
A deposition is only one part of a personal injury case. Take these steps to prepare for this portion of your case and make sure you get the right support throughout the entire process by talking to a personal injury attorney today.
Start your case off with the right legal approach. Begin to build your case so you can get what is fair and due to you if you have been injured in an accident.
Talk to TJ Grimaldi today to get answers to you r questions about depositions and the overall legal process for your case. All consultations are free. Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.