Your personal injury car accident claim is now in a lawsuit. Your lawyer’s office just called to tell you that the opposing party requests your deposition. You’re nervous – understandably – because you’ve never given a deposition before. What can you expect during your deposition? And what tips can you follow to prepare for your deposition? Here are some simple tips to prepare for your car accident deposition.
First: What You Can Expect During Your Deposition
Generally, most depositions are not what you see in the movies. Lawyers are not harassing the deponent, nor are lawyers fighting with each other. To the contrary, the vast majority of depositions are relatively calm. Lawyers do not take depositions to annoy or harass the deponent, but to gain evidence to win their case.
While you may think of your deposition as an “all-or-nothing” proposition, it generally is not. Some questions and answers will favor your case, while other questions and answers will favor your opponent’s case. Bottom line, you usually cannot lose your case at your deposition.
Additionally, depositions do not take all day. Most last an hour or two. But depending on the case, they can go much longer.
Second: Review Your Interrogatory Answers And Other Documents Relevant To Your Case
Before your deposition, you must review documents that the questioning lawyer may ask you about. This includes your interrogatory answers and other documents relevant to your case.
Your interrogatory answers are those questions you signed in the presence of a notary. That is, you answered them under oath. Because your interrogatory answers likely covered how the accident happened, your injuries, and other relevant topics, you will be asked these questions again at your deposition. You want your answers to be consistent.
Additionally, you should review any other documents relevant to your case, including any documents you produced to the other party. For example, let’s say you produced photographs of the damage to your car. It’s likely the lawyer may ask you about the photographs, including where and how your car sustained damage. Similarly, if you produce photographs of your injuries, you can expect the lawyer to ask you when they were taken, and what they depict.
Further, if other parties to the case have given their deposition, it’s helpful to read their deposition transcripts. In addition to understanding the issues in the case, it will also give you a sense or feel of the question-and-answer format.
Third: Meet With Your Lawyer And Prepare Thoroughly
This is critically important. Before your deposition, meet with your lawyer to discuss the issues in your case, the questions to expect, and any other issue or concern you have.
In my experience, there’s no set amount of time it takes to prepare my client for his or her deposition. In some cases, not much preparation time may be needed – around 2 hours. But I’ve handled cases where I had to prepare my clients for several days. This was because the case involved numerous contracts, emails, and other documents.
Moreover, some clients prefer I ask them questions as if they are in an actual deposition. Others do not.
In my practice, I have found that after thorough, in-depth preparation you can anticipate 98% of the questions. Of course, there will be questions you did not expect. But overall there should be no surprises.
Barthelette Law, Your Boca Raton Injury Attorney
At Barthelette Law, we have experience helping car accident victims.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, call us today!