One of the initial steps of the pre-trial discovery process is the deposition. When you’re the person being deposed, you will be required to answer questions from the opposing party’s lawyer. Many people feel understandably nervous about sitting for a deposition. Understanding what a deposition is and what happens at a deposition can help you feel more confident and prepared when the moment arrives.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is a formal legal interview that happens before the courtroom trial commences. Each person directly involved in a civil lawsuit may be deposed. If they’re summoned to a deposition, they must answer questions from the opposing party’s attorney under oath. The interview will occur at a specific time and date, either at a lawyer’s office or in a conference room environment. Either way, a court reporter will attend to take down the questions and answers so that they can prepare an official transcript after the deposition has finished.
What Is the Purpose of a Personal Injury Deposition?
The deposition helps both parties’ attorneys obtain information about the accident and your injury-related losses. After the interview has concluded, both attorneys may be able to refine their courtroom strategies because of the information revealed at the deposition.
What Should I Expect During a Deposition?
If you are nervous about attending a deposition, it may be helpful to know that your lawyer will be there. They can ensure that the defense attorney’s line of questioning remains relevant to your case. Your lawyer can prepare you in advance so you can the questions in a way that avoids inadvertently assuming fault for the accident.
At the beginning of the deposition, you will swear to provide answers that are correct and true to the best of your knowledge. You will then sit opposite the defendant’s lawyer, who will begin to ask you questions about the accident and your injuries.
What Will They Ask Me?
The interview will begin with simple questions from the other party’s attorney. These questions usually cover:
- Your name
- Your employment history
- Your medical/health background
- Whether this is the first legal claim you have filed
- Whether you have any criminal history
- Other aspects of your life and health
After gathering this basic information, they will ask questions about the accident and the injuries you have received. You may be asked about:
- Treatments you have received for your accident-related injuries
- Physical disabilities the accident may have caused
- Whether your injuries or disabilities have forced you to take time off work
- Other consequences the accident may have had on your day-to-day life
It is common to feel nervous when you are facing questioning under oath. Nevertheless, you should try to remain as calm as possible during the interview. Answer the questions as clearly as you can.
You must also answer the questions as truthfully as possible. The defense attorney will have thoroughly researched your situation, so they will know if you are exaggerating or misrepresenting anything. Being less than truthful will discredit you in the eyes of the court and may put your claim at risk.
What Happens After the Deposition?
The court reporter will prepare the official transcript when the interview is over, which may take a few weeks. Once your lawyer receives it, they may give you their assessment of how the deposition might affect your case.
Furthermore, the opposing party’s insurance company might request that you attend an examination by an independent medical professional of their choosing. The resulting reports will inform their decision about whether to offer a settlement. If not, you may choose to move forward with the courtroom trial.
Contact an Experienced New York City Personal Injury Attorney
Most personal injury cases conclude when the injured party and their lawyer come to a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, some claims do not end with a settlement agreement. In these situations, a personal injury lawsuit becomes the injured party’s only hope of recovering compensation for their accident-related losses.
Sitting for a deposition can feel like one of the most stressful aspects of a personal injury lawsuit. When you have the right attorney on your side, you can feel confident every step of the way.
The experienced New York personal injury lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP will help you prepare for the deposition in a way that can keep your claim as strong as possible so that you have a chance at getting the full and fair compensation you deserve.