For individuals who are filing a personal injury lawsuit, there is already a lot of stress and strain involved in just dealing with the injury that is causing the lawsuit. But going through a personal injury lawsuit will never be an easy process just because of the personal nature of the case itself.
Here, the choice of personal injury attorney is critical, because a highly qualified and competent attorney can ease both the learning curve and the sometimes lengthy process of litigation. One key area where choosing the right attorney can really help is to prepare the plaintiff for the personal injury deposition.
In this post, learn more about what to expect and what kinds of questions may be asked during a personal injury deposition.
The Deposition: Defined
One common question new plaintiffs have is simply, “What is a deposition?” The deposition represents the stage in the lawsuit where the defendant’s legal team gets to question the plaintiff.
So the structure is actually fairly simple. The plaintiff will be there with their lawyer and the defendant will be there with their lawyer. The defendant’s lawyer will have questions prepared in advance to ask the plaintiff during the deposition.
When the deposition gets underway, typically there will be a third party taking notes (a stenographer) and there may be a videographer to videotape the deposition (although this is less common). The defendant’s attorney will ask the plaintiff the questions in strict “question – answer” format while the stenographer is recording the answers given.
Preparing for the Deposition
It will be the plaintiff’s attorney’s job to prepare the plaintiff well for the deposition process. Sometimes the preparation process will include a “mock deposition,” where the attorney asks a series of questions that are likely to be similar to the actual questions and the plaintiff practices answering. This can be especially helpful if the plaintiff is a shy person who has trouble speaking when under pressure.
The deposition usually takes place in a conference room type setting with all parties seated around a table. The attire is business or business casual. Breaks are permitted, as are objections from either side’s legal team. Practicing in a similar environment can further ease the plaintiff’s anxieties about the actual day of the deposition.
By preparing in advance for the deposition and knowing exactly what to expect, these very natural anxieties can be eased so they won’t interfere with the process itself.
What Kinds of Questions to Expect
Because the deposition is designed as a vehicle through which the defendant can gather as much information about the events leading up to the lawsuit as possible, the questions will likely be geared heavily towards details of this matter.
Questions are very likely to include the following:
– Questions about the incident, including date, time, place, witnesses, injuries.
– Personal questions about the plaintiff including age, work history, education, et al.
– Personal questions about health and fitness level and medical history prior to and after the incident.
– Questions about any medical evaluation and/or care received after the incident.
– Questions about how the incident has changed or impacted daily life.
– Questions about what occurred right after the incident.
– Questions about perspective, such as distance to/from, length of time, pain scales, degree of injury and similar others.
The Deposition Process
The deposition is a standard and valuable part of any personal injury trial. As such, there is a set of steps that will take place as follows:
– The participants will be sworn in.
– The deposition rules (guidelines) will be read.
– The defendant’s attorney will ask a question and wait for the plaintiff’s answer, then repeat until all questions are answered.
– The process is then concluded.
By understanding what the purpose of a deposition is, how the deposition itself proceeds, what types of questions to prepare for and what type of environment the deposition will take place in, a great deal of anxiety can be alleviated. This will help the plaintiff do a better job of accurately answering the questions and creating a stronger base from which to try their personal injury case.