What Does Deposition Mean?
What does receiving a subpoena for a deposition in a personal injury case mean? The subpoena compels you to appear to provide out-of-court testimony regarding matters related to the injury claim. It is similar to being questioned in court because you are under oath to tell the truth.
If you receive a subpoena, you must attend the deposition. A subpoena is a court order directing you to appear. If you believe you have a valid reason for not testifying, you should immediately talk with a personal injury lawyer instead of ignoring the deposition subpoena.
Who Is Present at a Deposition?
Generally, the attorneys for both parties are at the deposition. In some cases, the parties to the case might be present.
The person being deposed and a court reporter are present. Sometimes, a videographer is there to create a video of the deposition.
Depositions are part of the discovery process. They are used along with written questions (interrogatories) to gather information and evidence from the other party.
However, other people could be deposed in a personal injury case. Testimony could be obtained from eyewitnesses. A lawyer may depose an expert witness for the other side and other parties who could have information relevant to the case.
What Types of Questions Are Asked During a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?
The word “deposition” means giving sworn evidence. The purpose of a deposition is to gather evidence and force the opposing party to provide answers to questions under oath so they cannot change their story at trial.
The attorney for the other party will ask you a series of questions you must answer under oath. The questions relate to the personal injury case.
Deposition testimony can cover topics and questions that a judge might not allow during the trial. The types of questions the attorney might ask will cover a wide variety of topics, including:
The attorney will ask you to confirm your name and address. The lawyer may then ask specific questions about your medical history, employment, education, hobbies, extracurricular activities, and legal history. The goal is to gather as much background information as possible for various defenses.
Specifics About the Accident
The lawyer will ask questions about how the injury occurred. First, they may ask you to describe the accident. Then, the lawyer might follow up with specific questions about various aspects of the accident.
You must be honest with your answers. Lying in a sworn deposition is perjury. However, you do not have to provide answers to questions the lawyer does not ask, so avoid adding details or information that the attorney did not request.
The Injuries You Sustained and Damages
The lawyer may ask you to describe your injuries, medical treatment, and prognosis. It is a good idea to review your medical records with your doctor and make notes about your condition and treatment, knowing that you will face these questions. The attorney may also ask you about the cost of medical treatment and other financial damages incurred because of the injuries.
Your Life After Being Injured
Economic damages are based on actual financial losses. However, an injury also impacts other areas of your life.
Therefore, the lawyer may ask questions about how your injury has affected your daily life, your ability to care for yourself, and your relationship with family and friends. These questions are related to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and permanent impairments.
The attorney may also want to know about future damages, including diminished earning capacity, decreased quality of life, and ongoing costs of care and treatment.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me Prepare for a Deposition?
Answering questions in a deposition can make you feel nervous and uncomfortable. Having skilled legal representation can help reduce stress and protect you from conduct violating your rights.
Your personal injury attorney will help you prepare for your deposition by:
- Explaining how depositions work and your legal rights
- Discussing the questions that the other attorney is likely to ask and the information needed to answer the questions
- Conducting role-playing exercises to help you feel more comfortable with the process
- Offering tips such as what to wear, how to respond if you don’t know the answer, and what to say if you don’t understand the question
Your attorney cannot testify for you or tell you how to answer questions. However, your attorney is present and can stop the deposition if the other lawyer is abusive or violates your rights. If you need legal assistance, call Allen Law Firm, P.A., at (877) 255-3652 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation of your case.