If you have been injured in an auto accident that is not your fault, you will probably be asked to have your deposition taken regarding the facts of the accident.
This is an important step in the handling of an accident claim and one that you should prepare for ahead of time.
These tips from lawyers who frequently handle auto accident claims explain what to expect at a deposition and how to get through it easily and eliminate any related stress.
What Is A Deposition?
A deposition in this situation is sworn testimony given by a person involved with an auto accident during a pre-trial meeting between both sides of a personal injury claim prior to the filing of litigation by a plaintiff's representing auto accident attorney.
Statements are given under oath, so anything said at a deposition is considered evidence and may be used at a trial involving a personal injury case.
Fortunately, 96% of all personal injury cases each year settle before trial.1
The deposition acts as a critical part of the discovery process so that a suitable settlement between both sides can be reached without having to progress to trial.
What Should You Expect?
Depositions typically take place in an attorney’s office with the person being deposed and auto accident lawyers who ask questions relating to the accident and any claimed injury.
Because depositions are taken under oath, your testimony will be recorded by a court reporter who attends and records such meetings that may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.
It’s a good idea to prepare for your deposition in advance with your attorney so you can give honest, accurate, and consistent testimony.
How Can You Prepare for A Deposition?
When injured victims will be questioned by lawyers at a deposition, it’s important for them to prepare ahead of time with their own attorney so the testimony is accurate and useful for their case:
- Anticipate Questions - Practice ahead of time with your attorney by answering questions that the other lawyers are likely to ask.
- Refresh and Recall - Refresh your memory about the accident and review your past statements and all other details about your injury case with your lawyer.
- Stay Polite, Professional, and Calm - During a deposition, it’s important to maintain composure, remain calm, and concentrate on the questions to answer them as accurately as possible.
- Be Clear and Consistent - Consistency in answers is critical, so avoid being vague or inconsistent in your responses.
- Keep Answers Short - Answer only the question being asked and do not volunteer extra information.
- Listen Carefully and Understand the Question - Only answer what you completely understand; if you don’t understand the question, ask that it be rephrased or explained to you.
- Avoid Speculating, Exaggerating, Joking, or Twisting Facts - Like any other testimony given under oath, you must tell the truth without adding in your own thoughts, other events, humor, or any other non-relevant information keeping in mind that you can reply that you can't truthfully cannot answer that question.
- Practice with Your Attorney - Do a practice deposition with your attorney acting as the opposing attorney to be more comfortable with what will happen at the real deposition.
Prepare In Advance for A Strong Deposition
A deposition is your time to explain what happened during the involved auto accident as well as how you were hurt at that time.
To be sure yours goes as well as it can, work with an experienced auto accident lawyer who can explain what will happen at your deposition and prepare you for it in advance.
If you follow your attorney’s advice and learn the right things to do at a deposition, your side of the story will be favorable presented to hopefully increase your chances of a favorable outcome!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1Black's Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Edition: Pre-Trial Settlement Percentages Statistics on Personal Injury Settlements