Personal Injury Depositions – Are They Important?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Dec 07, 2020 in Personal Injury
As an injured victim pursuing compensation after a car accident, slip and fall or other personal injury, you may be required to give a deposition. This is not uncommon, but many people do not understand the importance of this process and how it can impact the outcome of a case.
Our attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak explain more about what a deposition is, who may be required to provide one and why not having an attorney can put you at a disadvantage.
If you are pursuing a claim for damages after an accident caused by another’s negligence, contact our firm to schedule a complimentary case review with one of our personal injury lawyers in South Bend. Get answers to your questions and discuss your potential legal options with no obligation or risk.
Personal Injury Depositions – What You Need to Know
If you receive a subpoena for a deposition, you should not feel alarmed. It is a common part of what is known as the “discovery process” in a personal injury claim. However, there are a few important facts you need to understand about them, including the impact they have on a case.
Who May Be Subpoenaed?
Attorneys for either the defendant or plaintiff may call for a deposition to obtain more information about an accident. Anyone involved in the incident may be subpoenaed to give a deposition, including:
- The defendant or plaintiff in a personal injury claim
- Others who may have been involved in the accident (such as passengers in a car crash)
- Witnesses who saw the accident happen
Who Will Attend the Deposition?
Both sides of a personal injury case will attend the deposition, which includes the defendant, plaintiff and their attorneys. While there will not be a judge present, a court reporter will attend to make an official written record of both the questions asked and the responses given. Copies of this record, called a transcript, will be provided to the attorneys for both parties. It is also becoming more common to have a videographer attend a deposition to make an electronic recording.
Who Will Be Asking the Questions?
Primarily, the attorney who sent the deposition notice will be asking the questions. The opposing attorney is permitted to follow up with additional questions to help clarify a statement made by the deponent (person answering the questions). If the other party does not have an attorney, then he or she may question you.
Why a Deposition Matters
A deposition is recorded, either on video or by a court reporter – or in some cases – both. As such, it is considered an official record of your statements about the accident. Anything you say can be used for or against you, which in turn may benefit or negatively impact your claim. This is why having an attorney prepare you for a deposition, including the types of questions you may be asked and how to answer them, is important.
What Questions Can I Expect?
At a deposition, you will likely have to provide answers to questions on the following topics:
- Personal information: These types of questions are for the official record and could include a request for your name, address, where you work, and other background information that may be relevant to your case, including details about your medical history.
- Details about the injury: Opposing counsel may ask you questions to clarify what you remember about the accident, the types of injuries you sustained and what type of medical treatments you have received or will need to continue receiving.
- Impact on your daily life: There are likely to be specific questions the opposing attorney or plaintiff will ask about your injuries to get a fuller picture on the severity of your injuries and how they are impacting your daily life.
How Do I Prepare?
Trying to prepare on your own, without an attorney and without having any experience or knowledge about how a deposition works, can put you at a great disadvantage. Attorneys have vast experience handling depositions. They understand that opposing counsel may ask certain questions to help reduce his or her client's liability.
For example, the opposing counsel (attorney for the defendant) may ask you questions about your medical history to try to establish there was a preexisting injury that you did not previously disclose.
In general, it is important for you to:
- Dress professionally and have a neat appearance – as if you are going to work
- Be calm, courteous and respectful throughout the deposition
- While it is fine to ask questions for clarification, showing anger or frustration will only work against you
- Be on time for your appointment
- You are being questioned under oath, so it is important to be completely honest. However, only give the facts - do not provide more information than necessary
Hiring an Attorney for Your Deposition May Benefit Your Claim
Our attorneys have extensive experience handling depositions, and they are prepared to help you avoid common pitfalls that can damage your claim.
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we have a proven track record, recovering millions in compensation for our clients. We have represented injured victims throughout Indiana, and we are prepared to fight tirelessly to help you obtain maximum compensation for the injuries and losses a negligent party caused you to suffer.
If we represent you, there are no fees to pay us up front. Since we take cases on contingency, you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.
Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak. Experienced legal help fighting for you. (844) 678-1800