What Happens at a Deposition?
If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s action or inaction, you have the right to file a claim for compensation from the at-fault party. Most personal injury claims are settled out of court, but sometimes it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit. If you and your attorney decide to take the opposing party to court, you will likely be required to attend a deposition before the case moves to trial.
The idea of sitting for a deposition can make people feel incredibly anxious. However, many plaintiffs find that having a sense of what to expect before the process begins can help them feel calmer and more confident when the deposition occurs.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is a pre-trial legal procedure that allows both parties’ attorneys to gain a more thorough understanding of each side’s theory of the case before it moves to trial. In a personal injury case, anyone who was involved in the case, including expert witnesses, could be summoned to appear at a specific time and place to answer questions from the opposing party’s attorney.
What Is the Purpose of a Personal Injury Deposition?
A personal injury deposition helps the parties collect crucial information about the accident and your injuries. During the deposition, attorneys from both parties will have an opportunity to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of your case. The deposition will also be a chance for attorneys to refine their strategies because they will get to see how you are likely to testify during a trial.
What Should I Expect During a Deposition?
When your attorney is preparing you for your deposition, you might feel nervous about the questioning, but you will find it helpful to focus on one question at a time.
The first thing you will be asked to do is to swear under oath that the answers you give to the attorney’s questions are true and correct to the best of your knowledge. After taking your oath, you will sit across from the attorney for the other party. They will begin questioning you about the accident you experienced and the injuries you received.
Throughout the exchange, a court reporter will record the questions and answers on a stenograph machine. The reporter will create an official transcript of the deposition that can be used as evidence during the trial.
What Types of Questions Will They Ask Me?
Before the deposition occurs, your attorney will talk with you about the kinds of questions they believe the opposing party will ask and how you should act during the deposition.
The opposing party’s attorney will probably begin with simple questions about who you are, your employment history, your medical background, and other aspects of your life. They will likely also ask whether you have filed any other legal claims and whether you have a criminal history.
They will then move on to the specific matter at hand: your injuries and the accident that caused them. The attorney may ask you questions about any treatments you have received because of your injuries, any physical disabilities that the accident caused, and other consequences the accident may have had on your life.
While it is natural to be nervous, you should try to conduct yourself in as calm a manner as possible throughout the deposition. Furthermore, it is important to remember that the answers to many of the questions you will be asked can be found in the public record. Consequently, it is important that you answer these questions as truthfully as possible. Otherwise, you risk throwing your credibility into doubt.
What Happens After the Deposition?
After you have been deposed, the court reporter will take a few weeks to prepare the transcript. Once your lawyer has obtained a copy, they’ll review the transcript to be sure no errors were made.
The opposing party may ask that you be examined by an independent medical professional. They would use that doctor’s report to inform their decision about a possible settlement. If they offer a fair amount, you may choose to accept it. If not, you and your attorney can choose to move forward with a trial.
Contact an Experienced Dallas Personal Injury Attorney Today
While the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit may seem stressful, having the right attorney on your side can help you feel more confident throughout the process. The experienced Dallas personal injury lawyers of The Benton Law Firm can help you know exactly what to do and say in a deposition. Our legal team will do all we can to fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve for your losses.
Call us today at (214) 777-7777 or contact us online now for a free consultation.