Being well prepared for your deposition questions can significantly increase the amount of your car accident settlements.
However, if you’ve never been through one they can seem intimidating and confusing.
In this article, we’ll cover the main things you need to know about a deposition so you can be better prepared for your injury claim. We’ll discuss...
What Exactly is a Deposition?
How Does a Deposition Determine Your Settlement Amount?
Who Attends the Deposition?
Where is the Deposition Held?
Which Questions Will They Ask?
What Happens at the Deposition?
5 Simple Tips That Help Your Accident Settlement
Let’s get started….
A deposition is basically a question and answer session that is conducted under oath.
It’s part of a “discovery” process that is conducted after a car accident lawsuit is filed by an injury victim.  The purpose of a deposition is to allow both the plaintiff (accident victim) and defendant ( insurance company) to exchange information about the insurance claim.
In a deposition, you will be asked questions by the other party's attorney and vice versa. Your attorney will be able to advise you and provide guidance during the testimony.
If you want to receive a high accident settlement a deposition matters.
Insurance companies use the deposition to evaluate just how much your settlement is worth. They also use this process to anticipate how your case might look to a potential jury.
For example, during the deposition process insurance companies will be asking themselves questions like:
All of these things play a BIG role in determining exactly what your settlement is worth.
If you come across as sincere and sympathetic during the deposition, chances are you will make the same impression on a jury. Which means you will get a high injury settlement.
Obviously an insurance company does not want this and would prefer to settle your claim rather than going to trial and potentially losing more money.
Therefore by being well prepared for a deposition, you can significantly increase your chances of negotiating a higher settlement offer.
Only a handful of people attend a deposition. The typical list includes:
People Giving Testimonies
The person who testifies is known as “deponent”. For a car accident claim this can include:
This includes attorneys from both the plaintiff and defense. For a car accident claim this typically is the personal injury attorney for the injured victim(s) and defense counsel for the insurance companies.
A judge usually does not get involved at this point. Instead a court reporter oversees the deposition process. The court reporter swears you in before the questions from the attorneys begin.
The court reporter also records everything that is said by all the people present at the deposition. This is usually done with via a video recorder (or audio recorder) and later converted to a transcript if requested. These recorded statements can later be presented as evidence at a trial if needed.
It is important to know that you are under oath during the deposition. You are required by law to tell the truth. If you are found to be giving false testimony, you may face criminal penalties for perjury.
The deposition can be held at any location that is reasonable for the witness testifying.
This can include:
Every deposition is going to be different, but when it comes to car accident claims the questions asked typically fall into three categories.
What you’ll be asked varies but this should give you a baseline for what to expect.
If you will take part in a deposition you will be notified well in advance so you can arrange to be free and prepare for it. If one party does not want to participate the court may issue a subpoena making their participation mandatory.
Generally, a deposition is opened with the deposing attorney giving an introductory statement and informing you of the rules. These will be basics such as you are under oath, your statements are being recorded, you can go back and correct the record if needed, etc.
Depositions are limited by law to last no longer than 7 hours on one single day . 7 hours may sound like a long time, but the good news is that most depositions are much shorter than this. It really all comes down to the specifics of your case.
There are 5 critical things to keep in mind during your deposition that can help your car accident claim:
You should also be cautious of how you conduct yourself during the questions. It may be difficult not to get emotional during a deposition but try to remain polite and even keel. Make sure to stop and take a few breathes if you feel overwhelmed and you can ask for a quick break if needed.
Many people don’t want to appear stupid in this way, but it’s in your best interest to make sure you understand everything that is being asked.
Depositions can be stressful but hopefully we’ve taken some of the mystery out of them. Just remember to keep a few things in mind about depositions:
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