While we normally try to negotiate a settlement from the insurance company that covers all your losses without needing to go to trial, that doesn’t always happen. However, a deposition could be used to determine if a lawsuit even needs to proceed, since if the results of a deposition heavily favor your claim, the insurance company may agree to settle without a trial.
For most of our clients, a deposition is an unfamiliar and potentially intimidating situation, but we want to make it clear that your deposition is nothing to get stressed over.
We answer many of the questions our clients have about depositions below, so you can be better prepared if you ever need to attend one.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is part of the pre-trial process for a personal injury claim. This is when you provide oral testimony of your side of the story. Anything said at a deposition is considered “on-the-record.” You will not be able to change your testimony later, so it’s important to be honest about what happened.
The purpose of a deposition is to get all critical details of the accident and determine the strengths and weaknesses of your claim.
Who Will Be at My Deposition?
While depositions are considered sworn testimony, you do not have to give your testimony in front of a judge or jury.
Generally, the only people present when you give a deposition will be you, your lawyer, the lawyer for the other party, and a court reporter who will record your answers.
Who Will Be Questioning Me?
The opposing lawyer will be the one questioning you. However, depositions are nothing like the heated courtroom battles depicted in legal dramas where the lawyer verbally attacks the person on the witness stand. Instead, you can typically expect the questioning attorney to be polite, professional, or even friendly.
What Will I Be Asked at My Deposition?
During your deposition, you will be asked a series of questions that are intended to determine whether or not you have a strong claim to compensation. Examples of questions you may be asked include:
- Can you describe the events leading up to the accident?
- What injuries did you suffer in the accident?
- How were your injuries treated?
- How have your injuries impacted your day-to-day life?
- Did you have any pre-existing injuries that could have caused these same symptoms?
- Have you filed a personal injury lawsuit before?
You are legally required to answer all questions, and answer them truthfully. If you do not know the answer, simply state you do not know and avoid making guesses or offering opinions that could later change or be disproven. This is because all your answers will be recorded, and if the lawsuit goes to trial, any future testimony will be checked against the answers you gave at the deposition.
You should not volunteer any additional information that the opposing lawyer does not specifically ask for, as these extra details could be used against you.
While your lawyer cannot answer questions for you, they should have an idea of what questions will be asked, and can help prepare you for your deposition.
How Long Does a Deposition Take?
Each case is unique, so the time can vary from one hour to several days, but a typical deposition may last roughly two hours.
Do I Need to Go to the Courthouse for My Deposition?
No, a deposition typically takes place in the attorney’s office. If there’s an exception in your particular situation, your lawyer will inform you well ahead of time.
Can I Decline a Deposition?
Not all cases require a deposition, and you may not need to be deposed at all. But if the opposing side requests a deposition, you must attend in order for your claim to proceed.
Injured in an Accident? Call Catalano Law
Our experienced personal injury attorneys know that accidents are stressful, and filing a lawsuit is even more so, but we’re here for you every step of the way.
Whether you need someone to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, coach you through a deposition, or argue your claim in front of a jury, we’ll be there, ready to answer any questions you have and step in with a helping hand. Contact our firm today for a free consultation and learn why accident victims across New York know Catalano Wins.