What Will I be Asked in Deposition?
Our personal injury lawyers in Miami have attended and taken thousands of depositions. In any given week, each of our attorneys will participate in several depositions. But the same cannot be said about our clients. Most of our clients have never had their deposition taken and understandably, this causes stress and anxiety. It is the job of every personal injury lawyer who represents a plaintiff in litigation to properly and professionally prepare each client for their deposition and, when necessary, their trial testimony.
Most of us will agree that the fear of the unknown can be overwhelming. That is why your personal injury attorney has the task of explaining and preparing their client for what they might face in a deposition. Aside from the specific facts of each case, there are basic instructions and information every plaintiff should know and understand.Basic Format of a Plaintiff Deposition
Most insurance defense lawyers take tons of depositions. Often times one after another. As a result, insurance attorneys typically follow the same general format in taking plaintiff depositions. Using the same outline of questions helps the lawyer ensure that none of the essential information is missed.
A significant part of any plaintiff’s deposition involves their background. Here is where the insurance defense attorney will gather information which they will use to subpoena records after the deposition. At the same time, inquiries about your past is another way to test your veracity and truthfulness. If the lawyer finds some evidence that you forgot or failed to disclose, then it will be argued that you are not to be believed and therefore you should not recover any damages or at least not the amount that you are seeking.
You can expect background questions about:
- Health Insurances
- Prior Accidents
- Prior Injuries
- Prior Claims
- Prior Lawsuits
After your background has been fully examined, the next area of inquiry may be the accident or incident that is the subject of your lawsuit. You will be asked for the facts as well as your perceptions, opinions and even your beliefs. The defense lawyer will make every attempt to lock you into absolutes and certainties. Only later in a mediation and possibly at trial will the defense lawyer use those statements against you.
The next logical area will be your injuries. The defense attorney is hoping you will minimize or exaggerate your injuries. Again to use against you at a later date. Once all of your injuries have been detailed you will be asked more background questions in regard to those injuries. Have you ever had an injury to that part of your body before? Ever receive medical treatment for that condition?
You will also be asked about your current condition. Have any of your injuries gotten better? Worse? Stayed the same? The only thing you can do is to answer as truthfully as possible. Don’t understate your condition and never overstate it either.
You will likely be asked questions about what activities you cannot do or are limited in doing due to the injuries you received in this accident. Sometimes, these questions are asked as part of a strategy to set you up for surveillance after the deposition. The defense lawyer will try to lock you down as to what you cannot do. On more than one occasion, an investigator was waiting outside the deposition to begin surveillance when the plaintiff left the deposition.Surveillance
A word about surveillance. The two most likely times an investigator will begin following you will be after your deposition and after your Compulsory Medical Exam (CME). The reason is simple – those are the times and places where the defense attorney knows you will be. Insurance companies hate to pay an investigator for searching or waiting for their target. There is nothing you can do about surveillance but if you are concerned or uncomfortable then you should not hesitate to call the police. If you suspect that you are being surveilled, then be sure to let your attorney know as well.
Your deposition will not be an enjoyable experience but it won’t be as bad as you might expect. The key is preparation with your personal injury lawyer and to tell the truth. If you have any questions about personal injury cases or depositions, the Miami personal injury lawyers at Wolfson & Leon offer free consultations. Just call us at (305) 285-1115 today.