The average personal injury case in Texas involves many complicated legal processes that you may not have encountered before as a plaintiff. One is the deposition. Depositions take place during the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit, after filing a claim and prior to a trial. Learn what to expect if you have to attend a deposition in a personal injury case, as well as how to protect your rights during one.
What Is the Purpose of a Deposition?
A deposition is a meeting where an attorney from one side of a personal injury case asks the other side questions. If you attend a deposition as a personal injury plaintiff, the defendant’s attorney will ask you questions about the circumstances of your case to gather more information. The purpose of the deposition is to keep the justice system fair and efficient by establishing certain facts to be true between both parties. Depositions eliminate the need to rehash these facts on the stand.
What Happens During a Deposition?
The deposition is your first opportunity to share your story and put it on the record. During a personal injury deposition, you will be referred to as the deponent. You will attend your deposition at a predetermined time and place, usually an attorney’s office instead of a courtroom. You will be sworn in, meaning you are under oath to tell the truth under penalty of perjury while you are being deposed. You will then be asked many questions about yourself, your accident, your injuries and your health.
Do You Have to Attend a Deposition?
Yes, if you are called upon to attend a deposition, you lawfully must go to the meeting. Your participation is mandatory once you have received a notice of deposition. If you wish your case to proceed, you must attend the deposition and answer the questions asked. You have the ability to work with the other side of the case, however, to set a time and date that works for you.
Who Is Present at a Personal Injury Deposition?
The people who attend a deposition in a personal injury case are typically the deponent, the deponent’s attorney, the other party’s attorney and a stenographer (court reporter). The stenographer’s job is to record everything said and done during a deposition. That way, the attorney can use a transcript of the deposition for reference during a trial.
What Types of Questions Are Asked at a Deposition?
The questions asked during a deposition will depend on the specific personal injury case. One goal of a deposition is to obtain as much information from the deponent as possible about the accident and injury. The questions asked can touch on a variety of subjects. They often include:
- What is your name, address, job history, etc.?
- Have you ever testified in a case before?
- How did you prepare for this deposition?
- How did the accident happen?
- Who was involved in the accident?
- Did you go to a hospital right away?
- What is your specific injury diagnosis?
- How has your life changed after the injury?
You do not have to know the answer to every question asked during a deposition. You are allowed to say, “I don’t know,” “Can you repeat the question?,” “Can you rephrase?” or “Can I have a break?” If you do know an answer, however, you must tell the truth to the best of your ability.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
A personal injury deposition can be daunting as a plaintiff. If you hire an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney to represent you, he or she can guide you through the legal process to give you greater peace of mind. Your attorney can attend the deposition with you, giving you advice as to what to say and do. Your attorney can also help you prepare for the deposition ahead of time, so you avoid misspeaking. Learn more about personal injury depositions by contacting a lawyer in Dallas today.