Who is the Insurance Defense Lawyer Taking Your Deposition?
If your personal injury claim could not be settled, then the next logical step is to file a lawsuit. One of the major benefits of filing a lawsuit is that you are able to operate within a system of rules and deadlines that will help you bring an end to your case through settlement or verdict. Before your personal injury lawsuit is filed, the power and control rests largely with the insurance company. The adjuster can offer a minimal amount and adopt a “take it or leave it” attitude. All too often, victims of negligence are left to feel as if they have no choice except to accept a small offer or go to litigation.
If you choose to litigate your personal injury claim, there are a few significant events that you will need to endure. Initially you will need to answer written questions called interrogatories. You will also need to produce documents and records in response to a request for the production of documents. At some point you may need to undergo an examination by a defense doctor. This is often referred to as an IME (Independent Medical Examination) or a CME (Compulsory Medical Examination). But the one thing that causes our personal injury clients the most stress is their deposition.Plaintiff’s Deposition and the Insurance Attorney
A deposition is simply the taking of your sworn testimony. Your personal injury lawyer will be there with you. A court reporter will administer the oath and transcribe your words into a transcript. If you need a translator, one is also provided. Lastly the insurance defense attorney will be the one asking the questions.
The location of the deposition usually depends on the attorneys involved and the local customs. Our slip and fall attorneys and car accident lawyers have attended client depositions at defense attorney’s offices and in court reporter offices. No matter where the deposition is taken, the conditions are usually professional and comfortable. Everyone has comfortable seating and access to restrooms. It is not an interrogation.
How your deposition goes really depends on the insurance defense lawyer. Young and inexperienced attorneys tend to take a long time and ask too many useless questions. These young lawyers are learning on the job and at the same time they are afraid they will miss some important piece of information. Since they have no significant experience, they are unsure of what is important and therefore tend to throw the “kitchen sink” at you.
Another type of insurance defense attorney is the litigator as opposed to the trial lawyer. The litigator prefers to litigate the issues and ultimately resolve the case in a settlement. Some litigators use the opportunity of your deposition to create an unpleasant experience that you will never want to repeat. They actually believe that if the deposition is an agonizing event, then you will take something less than full value for your case to avoid having to undergo another experience with that insurance defense attorney at trial. Depositions with litigators are usually quite long, tedious and mind-numbing.
A trial lawyer takes your deposition with an eye towards actually trying the case before a jury. The questions are likely to be precise and to the point. The form of a trial lawyer’s questions will be geared towards impeachment. For example, in regard to prior injuries “Did you ever have an injury to your back prior to the accident of….?” If the trial attorney gets you to commit to no prior injuries and then discovers that you did in fact have a prior injury, then you will be impeached at trial.
Impeachment is a polite way of saying that you were caught lying. You made one statement under oath and it was false. The trial lawyer will gather a few instances of impeachment and add a few examples of exaggeration and then argue to the jury in closing that you cannot be believed or trusted. It is pretty simple to do and very simple to avoid. All you have to do is tell the truth.Your Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
Hopefully, your personal injury lawyer is a good trial lawyer. Any decent trial attorney can take the facts and work through the rough spots and still make a compelling case on your behalf before a jury. But even the best personal injury trial lawyers in Miami or anywhere in South Florida cannot explain away lies, omissions and exaggerations.
What can you do? First be completely honest with your lawyer. Make sure you not only discuss the good parts of your case but the bad parts as well. If you aren’t sure if a certain event is important, tell your attorneys and let them decide. Always assume that your secrets will be discovered. Never believe that you are the smartest person in the room either. You have to work with your lawyer as a team and trust is required.
At Wolfson & Leon, our slip and fall attorneys and Miami car accident lawyers have guided and represented victims of negligence since 1963. We know what to do and we are ready to help you and your loved ones. Just call us at (305) 285-1115 for your free consultation. We are here to help and to answer your questions. Don’t be a silent victim. Ge the justice and the compensation that you deserve.