Anyone who has suffered an injury knows how traumatic it can be. Speaking about the events surrounding your injury can often make the stress and anxiety worse. Before a personal injury case goes to trial, the two opposing sides hold a deposition. So you know what to expect in a personal injury deposition, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions for you to review. This will make you more comfortable entering the unfamiliar legal territory of a deposition.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is a process completed outside of court in which both sides gather more information. The attorney of the opposing side will ask you questions. Your attorney at Curcio Law Offices will question your opponent as well. Both sides review documents, testimonies, and other relevant information. Sometimes the deposition will be video recorded. The information gathered during a deposition might lead to a settlement or give reason to the parties to go to trial.
Am I Required to Attend a Deposition?
If the court ordered your deposition you must participate. Participating in a deposition does not need to be a negative experience. Giving your testimony sets the record straight. The experienced attorneys at Curcio Law Offices can help prepare you mentally and emotionally for this step.
How Should I Approach a Personal Injury Deposition?
You must treat a personal injury deposition like you are testifying in a courtroom. First, you will swear an oath. This means that you must answer all questions honestly. The attorneys will inform you of the rules of the deposition. The attorney from the opposing side asks you questions. A legal aid or court reporter will record your statements. All recordings and records become available to both sides after the deposition.
It is vital to answer each question with care in a personal injury deposition. Being truthful is essential. Your answers will help to determine the validity of claims from the opposing sides. These answers factor into the calculation of fault. You might receive a request to testify if the case goes to trial. It is important to say the same thing in your deposition as your trial. Your stories cannot contradict each other. Contradictory stories complicate your case.
Depositions often take a long time and it is perfectly reasonable to request to take a break. Fatigue can cause you to make a mistake. It’s common for the opposing attorney to pose the same questions reworded slightly. Attorneys do this to detect any irregularities in your story. If you take periodic breaks to compose yourself, you can avoid making any claims that might contradict each other.
Many people tend to resort to humor to diffuse tense situations. We advise against this. Court reporters record everything. What’s funny to everyone in the deposition room might not be as funny on a written court document.
What Are Some of the Questions Asked in a Personal Injury Deposition?
Many attorneys will ask questions about the background of the witness in a personal injury deposition. These could include current address, occupational history, any previous legal claims, criminal history, and medical history. After the attorney establishes a witness’s background, they question the details on events leading up to and following the injury. They may ask you to walk them through the accident step-by-step. You can describe the injuries you sustained as well as the limitations you’ve experienced as a result of those injuries. It’s impossible to know exactly what to expect in a personal injury deposition, but a professional attorney can help you prepare.
Do I Have to Answer Every Question in a Personal Injury Deposition?
The rule of thumb for a personal injury deposition is to answer questions from a place of certainty and honesty. Never guess or offer a speculative answer. If you do not know the answer to a question, it is always better to say “I don’t remember,” or “I can’t recall,” rather than to simply guess. Lying may seem like a simple and easy way to avoid a difficult question or inconvenient fact. Realize that it nearly always comes back to haunt you as the case moves forward.
The best strategy is to only give information for the question asked, not more. Keep your answers factual and avoid giving any opinions. This way you will prevent contradictions in your testimony that could weaken your case. Avoid any educated guesses or speculations.
Sometimes you can object to a question asked, but in the end, a judge can overrule the objection and require that you answer.
Always allow yourself time to gather your thoughts before answering a question. If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification in order to understand what is being asked so you can provide the best possible answer. If an attorney summarizes the events incorrectly, you can say that their account of the events is not consistent with your testimony. You should then request an opportunity to correct the record and give an accurate answer.
Do I Have to Say “Yes” or “No” to the questions in a Personal Injury Deposition?
If it is appropriate to answer a question with only “yes,” or “no,” then that is perfectly fine. Remember, it is never advisable to offer more information than the questioner asked. You have the right to ask for clarification or correction for any questions that are unclear or incorrect. If you are not sure of an answer, you may say you are not sure to the best of your knowledge or memory. It may not help your case if you are unable to answer the questions, but lying will surely hurt your chances of a favorable outcome.
What Should I Wear to a Personal Injury Deposition?
Professionalism is key to a personal injury deposition. Even though the deposition is not in a courtroom, it is still best to wear professional business attire. Do not wear casual clothing. You should also keep in mind that depositions can often take many hours. Take into consideration the comfort of your attire while also maintaining a professional appearance.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Personal Injury Deposition?
If you must give a deposition, advice from an experienced attorney will ensure you don’t make avoidable mistakes. You may not know what to expect in a personal injury deposition, and that’s why you need a professional attorney to guide you. The personal injury attorneys at Curcio Law Offices can guide you and help you practice so you feel comfortable going into a deposition. We will prepare you for the various tactics that the opposing attorney will use. If you attempt to participate in a deposition without the help of an attorney, you will most likely make it harder for yourself to win your case.
Ask yourself, “Do I want to take on the opposing side’s legal team on my own?” If the answer is “no,” then you will absolutely want to consider professional representation.
The team at Curcio Law Offices has many years of experience in representing clients with personal injuries. Our dedicated team of knowledgeable attorneys work hard to prepare you for a deposition. We fight for the results our clients deserve.
Contact Curcio Law Offices Today for Your Legal Questions and Concerns
Curcio Law Offices has been serving a wide variety of Chicago residents since 1957. We know what to expect in a personal injury deposition. Contact our offices today for a free confidential consultation or case evaluation. Protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.