Your deposition is the most important thing that you will do in your Florida personal injury case.
You were injured in an accident. The case did not settle and you had to file a lawsuit. During the lawsuit, you will be required to give a deposition. By far, your deposition will be the most important thing act that you will take in your case. If you hit a home run in your deposition, the case could settle in short order. If you strike out, the case will not settle and the insurance company will dig in their heels even further.
There is only one reason for you to lay an egg in your deposition and that is because you were not PREPARED FOR THE DEPOSITION. If you are adequately prepared for the deposition, you will not lay an egg. You may not hit a home run but you will definitely not strike out. I've been involved hundreds of depositions representing insurance companies and their clients and represented people Injured in accidents. The key component to a strong deposition, is adequate preparation. I can tell you that on dozens of dozens of occasions when I was doing work for insurance companies, I walked out of the deposition and asked myself – did that lawyer even talk to their client? If the extent of your lawyer's deposition preparation for you is him telling you to “just tell the truth” your preparation is inadequate because it goes without saying that you must tell the truth in your deposition.
A deposition is a sworn statement under oath. A court reporter will be transcribing everything that is said into booklet form. Sometimes depositions are also captured on video for playback at a later time.
Purpose of Deposition
A deposition is one of the oral discovery tools. One of the main purposes of a deposition is to get a handle on the type of witness the deponent (person being deposed) makes. If the deponent is the person making an injury claim the more credible the person, the easier the case becomes.
Areas of Questioning in the Deposition of an Injured Person
Attorneys have a lot of leeway in the types of questions that can be asked. Under Florida law, one of the only times an attorney will instruct the witness not the answer a question is when it infringes on attorney/client privilege or the questioning becomes harassing. If you're giving a deposition expect questions in the following categories:
- Family background
- Work history
- Prior accidents
- Prior injuries
- Prior lawsuits, divorce, bankruptcy
- Past medical history
- Facts of the accident for which you brought the lawsuit
- Injuries received in the accident
- Medical treatment received
- Names of doctors seen in the last 10-15 years
- Short term problems from the injuries
- Long term problems from the injuries
- Types of activities the injured person is no longer able to perform
- Types of activities that the injured person has had to modify because of the injuries
- Wage loss
- Future wage and/or earning information
How you come off as a witness in your deposition make or break your personal injury case. All personal injury trial lawyers know what is going to be asked of their client(s) and they should know all the weaknesses of the case. If the client is thoroughly prepared for his/her deposition the chance of striking out and blowing their case is little to none. Preparation is the key to good deposition testimony.
If you have any questions about a Florida personal injury case or need more information about the deposition process, call Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation box.