A legal deposition is specific to personal injury lawsuits. In other words, a deposition will only occur when one party is suing another party for compensation. If you are able to settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance without going to court, a deposition is not necessary. A deposition is a formal procedure upon which parties and witnesses swear under oath to answer attorney questions honestly in order to resolve their case outside of court.
Those who may be present include parties of the lawsuit (drivers and passengers), attorneys, potential eyewitnesses, and a person qualified to administer the oaths. Typically, the person administering the oath is a court reporter.
Depositions typically cover the personal background of the drivers, how the accident happened, the nature and extent of the injuries as well as the medical treatment received.
A plaintiff must attend at least one deposition. During the deposition, the defendant’s attorney will ask a series of questions relating to the accident. This deposition may take several hours. The attorney is trying to get as much detail as possible and explore the extent of the injuries. In this case, it’s better to answer questions to the best of your ability, but do not offer more information than is required. Don’t volunteer information. Don’t try to tell your side of the story. Focus only on answering the attorney’s questions.
Be aware of your body language, as both attorneys will scrutinize your body language, in an attempt to decide if you are being truthful. They will also make note of your temperament so it is important that you stay calm, and collected.
Be ready for extreme cross-examination from the opposing attorney. The defense will try and use your medical history against you and may ask questions that do not seem relevant to your case. However, you must answer these questions unless your attorney objects in the case that they are inappropriate.
Your attorney will help you prepare for your legal deposition. However, you’ll need to review documents such as your police report, your medical records and anything else that refreshes your memory of the accident. Be ready to answer questions in regard to your personal background, medical history, information about the accident, injuries caused by the accident, and medical treatment you’ve received since the accident.
If there’s a question you don’t know the answer to, it’s okay to say you don’t know.
Personal Background Info
You may be asked to provide any of the following information: name, address, telephone number, date of birth, marital status, residential addresses for the past 10 years, educational background including schooling, degrees, and training.
- Do you have any children? If so, how many?
- What is your health and medical background? (what injuries and health issues existed prior to the accident?)
- Do you have any chronic health problems?
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony or spent time in jail?
- Were you able to walk at the scene of the accident?
- Did you need emergency treatment?
- What treatment have you received?