Depositions in Personal Injury Cases – They Don’t Have to be Scary!
You’ve been injured in an accident. You are now a party in a legal case in an effort to recoup your damages. You are experiencing a whole new, unfamiliar world, and you’ve just been called for a deposition. You may feel a little afraid, and reasonably so; you’ve never given a deposition before.
Don’t sweat–the award-winning attorneys and legal staff from Van Law Firm are here to help! The greatest fear is the fear of the unknown, and we are here to help calm that fear and help you feel confident during this challenging yet important process. Call our office nearest you today to get started on the path toward compensation.
Let’s take a closer look at depositions as they pertain to personal injury cases, as well as some tips on how to navigate the process when you are called upon.
What is a Deposition?
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A deposition is, put simply, a question-and-answer session. It will be used to find out what you know about your accident. When you give your deposition, it will likely take place at a law office; however, it may be done remotely as well (especially given current circumstances). You will be sworn to tell the truth, the same as you will be for trial, but you won’t be in a courtroom. Your deposition will be recorded and there will be lawyers there. You may feel understandably nervous, but just remember, you are there to answer questions.
Telling Your Story
In the trial, witnesses are questioned first by the attorney representing the same side of the lawsuit as the witness. This allows witnesses to tell their story with guidance from the attorney who wants that story to be told. However, in a deposition, the attorney for the opposing side asks questions first. This idea might make you nervous, but we are here to give you our best tricks and tips to help you tell your story and avoid common deposition pitfalls. As a client of Van Law Firm, we will support you every step of the way to make sure that all of your experiences in the legal world are as painless as possible.
Tips and Tricks for Handling Depositions Effectively
Answer the Questions Honestly!
Always remember, no honest answer can cause as much trouble for you as a dishonest answer. Sometimes, that even means the things that you may not want to admit, like work, drugs, or deeply personal details. A deposition can include some questions that can’t be asked at trial, as the restrictions are looser. However, just because an ugly truth came up in deposition doesn’t mean it can or will be presented in court.
Answer the Questions as They Are Asked
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If the question asks something in absolute terms (with words like ever, never, or always), give thought to the question before answering. Your answer should be truthful–if you’ve never gotten a speeding ticket, there is no harm in saying so. On the other hand, if you were given a speeding ticket in high school, but say you’ve never gotten one, that answer can be proven to be untrue and may come back to cause an issue for you.
Similarly, if asked an open-ended question, it may be wise to consider how much of an answer to give. If the opposing attorney asks about your car, answering the year, make and model is sufficient. Describing the tinted windows or custom wheels, however, may give the opposing attorney information to use against you.
Pay Attention to How Questions are Phrased
Some deposition questions will ask you to create lists. Be sure to include everything necessary in that list. If asked to list injuries, omitting an injury in deposition can cause trouble later.
Take Your Time!
Always allow yourself time to consider your answers before answering. Don’t let fast questions from the opposing attorney trick you into giving fast answers which may not be helpful. Take a deep breath and even ask for a question to be repeated if you are unsure or confused.
Work with your Attorney
Always inform your attorney in advance of facts that you feel may come up in deposition. This preparation can help your attorney either avoid those questions or prepare an appropriate response. Remember that your attorney is there for you. This is your story, your attorney is there to be sure that you are heard and will do anything that they can to help you reach that goal.
Connect with Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve been in an accident and need an attorney, choose the experienced attorneys at Van Law Firm to guide you through your case. Experience is the best cure for deposition jitters. Our experienced attorneys can help coach you through the type of questions asked in a deposition, and help you feel empowered to tell your story, even with the opposing side driving the conversation. Call our office nearest you today for a free case evaluation and consultation.
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