San Antonio Injury Lawsuit Attorneys Explain Depositions
The parties in a personal injury lawsuit obtain information from one another and from witnesses through a variety of methods, collectively called “discovery.” One discovery tool commonly used in personal injury cases is called a “deposition.” In this post, our injury lawsuit attorneys will explain how depositions work and provide general guidelines to help you prepare for this big day in your case.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is, essentially, a formal, recorded interview, in which the person being deposed (the “deponent”) must answer questions under oath. Persons who may be deposed include the parties to the lawsuit; expert witnesses, such as medical professionals; eyewitnesses; and any other person with knowledge relevant to the case.
Where Is a Deposition Taken, and Who is Present?
A deposition is usually conducted at the law office of the attorney representing the deponent, but this is not always the case. The parties can agree to an alternate location, such as a courthouse or the law office of the opposing party’s lawyer. Normally, the lawyers for all parties will attend, along with the party being deposed and a court reporter who will record the testimony.
Why is Your Deposition Important?
Your deposition is important because the opposing party will use it as an opportunity to gather information and “tie down” your story; in addition, the opposing party will be sizing you up and assessing your strengths and weaknesses as a witness, should the case go to trial. The defense lawyer will be assessing your appearance, intelligence, believability, likability, level of injury, and many other “intangible” factors. Essentially, the defense attorney is attempting to determine the value that a jury might place on the case, which, in turn, will impact settlement negotiations.
What Topics Likely Will be Covered in Your Deposition?
Common categories of questions you can expect in your personal injury deposition include:
Questions re: Liability (Fault)
Whether you are injured in a car or truck accident, in a slip and fall at a retail establishment, or in a workplace accident, the defense attorney will ask extremely detailed questions about the actual injury-inducing event, including the time leading up to the accident, the accident itself, and the time immediately following the accident.
Questions re: Damages (Resulting Harm)
The seriousness of your injuries and the types and amount of medical care you have received all will have a significant impact on the value of your personal injury case. Therefore, expect to receive many questions concerning your medical treatment. The defense attorney likely will have reviewed all of your medical records carefully, so it is wise for you to do the same prior to your deposition, to avoid inadvertently misstating or mischaracterizing any part of your medical treatment.
Questions re: Prior Injuries
The defense attorney will be extremely interested in your past injuries, especially if they are similar to the injuries you suffered in the case at issue. It is important to talk with your lawyer to ensure that any prior injuries are disclosed truthfully and accurately.
Questions re: “Before and After”
It’s common for the opposing lawyer to ask how your life has been impacted by your injuries. One way to accomplish this is to ask for a description of things you did before the accident that you can no longer do because of the accident. This can include anything from dressing yourself to caring for your grandchildren to playing golf. Give some thought to how your day-to-day life has been impacted by the injuries sustained in the accident, and be prepared to answer these questions honestly and in detail.
Questions re: Witnesses
The opposing party will want to know the identities of potential witnesses who might be called to testify in your favor should the case go to trial, including, for example, eyewitnesses to the accident, medical care providers, and people familiar with your condition.
Contact Our Injury Lawsuit Attorneys Today
Facing an opposing lawyer at a deposition can be unnerving. Having an experienced San Antonio injury lawsuit attorney by your side will help to relieve your anxiety and allow you to give your best testimony. If you have questions about the deposition process or other questions about personal injury lawsuits generally, please contact us. You can reach us by phone or email to schedule a free initial consultation.