Deposition Process for a Personal Injury Case

Deposition Process for a Personal Injury Case

February 8, 2023

People experience accidental injuries throughout their lives, but many people suffer unnecessarily as a result of the negligence of others. A personal injury can cause devastating upheaval in a person’s life. People who suffer from acts of negligence usually must go through time-consuming and painful treatments and experience costly medical bills, severe emotional distress and job and relationship losses. The mistake of another person can forever alter your life in negative ways that often worsen as your age and natural wear and tear add to the injury.

This guide provides everything you need to know about the basics related to a deposition that occurs after the filing of a personal injury case before the case goes to trial. We know how important this step is during the process. We also understand the struggle of dealing with necessary legal steps while also coping with pain and suffering. We hope that this information can help make the process easier to understand and less frightening and stressful.

What Is a Deposition?

Before the court date, each party in the case can request information about the other party. This is called the discovery process. The information request can include injury details, available documents and question-and-answer testimonies by various people. A deposition is similar to a job interview in relation to background information requirements and its importance, but it covers specifically any details related to a personal injury case and the plaintiff or plaintiffs and defendant or defendants in that case.

Who Attends a Deposition?

The meeting must feature at least the attorneys for both parties and the person or persons providing their testimony on the scheduled date. Typically, the meeting works as a pre-trial examination in which the lawyer for a party delves into the events that occurred leading up to and since the injury and tries to discover any facts that can help their client and undermine the other party’s position in the case.

They might require their client, a witness or an expert from a specific background related to the case to provide testimony. If one or both parties have been told to attend the meeting by a court, then they must also be present for it even if they’re not providing a statement on that specific date. A videographer or court reporter might attend this meeting as well.

What Questions Should I Expect?

The questions depend on the person asking them. Both attorneys typically ask questions in an attempt to protect their client and prove their case. The plaintiff’s lawyer who filed the case usually asks questions that can prove that the injury resulted from negligence. The defendant’s lawyer asks questions to determine if the plaintiff might be at fault or lying about their injury. They ask for details that can help them prove that their client isn’t at fault.

Both sides want to know specifics about the person testifying under oath, also known as the deponent, such as their personal identifying details and any history of legal problems. If they’re deposing a witness who observed the event or serves as an expert, they want proof that the person is trustworthy and actually saw the event take place or possesses a professional background relevant to the case.

If the deponent is the plaintiff, they also usually want to know their medical, career and legal history, specific injury or injuries, the cost of those injuries in terms of financial, physical and emotional suffering, the impact of their injuries on their relationships and details about the medical care they received and expect in the future. The plaintiff can also usually expect questions about the impact on their career and overall quality of life, such as expected future earnings and expected post-injury lifespan.

What Are the Basic Rules?

All parties providing testimony must swear under oath before the process begins that they will provide honest answers. They must also confirm that they’re not influenced in any way by alcohol or drugs. Additionally, they must explain how they prepared beforehand.

They must agree that they won’t attempt to interrupt or talk over anyone in the room, especially the lawyer who asks them questions. They must also agree to never guess when answering and provide each answer in a complete fashion since the court reporter, if applicable, won’t be able to easily understand mumbling, half-spoken answers, oral noises or body language.

When supplying answers, the deponent has the right to ask the lawyer to rephrase the question. They’re also informed to only answer the question in a succinct and honest fashion. They shouldn’t volunteer any information. They also have the right to review any documentation noted in a question before answering a question related to it.

Lastly, they have the right to answer, and should whenever necessary, with “I don’t know” when they honestly don’t know the answer to a question. If they don’t remember, they can also say “I don’t remember.”

How Long Does It Last?

In California, the total non-expert testimony can’t last longer than seven hours unless a court orders a longer time frame. The court might permit longer testimony for a personal injury case if both parties express the need for more time or some delay occurs that prevents or disrupts testimony. The testimony of an expert or qualified deponent (Person Most Knowledgeable) is exempt of the time limit. Deponents from these categories usually need a lot more time to provide a thorough statement about a topic.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

A California attorney who specializes in personal injury cases and knows the relevant case law provides a wide range of services that make the entire process less stressful and easier for their client.

They can arrange the session and help their client prepare for expected questions. They can teach the client how to speak without using vague or guessing statements. They can review all relevant documents. They can provide tips about everything from overall expectations to the best outfit to wear to make a certain type of impression. They can even role-play to make it easier for their client to imagine the experience beforehand.

During the process, they help prevent the other party’s lawyer from taking control and possibly undermining their client’s position. If a settlement offer is put on the table, they evaluate it and offer their professional advice about what they feel their client should do next.

A California personal injury attorney helps their client make informed decisions every step of the way.

How to Select a Local Personal Injury Attorney

At Avian Law Group, our professional and experienced team understands how difficult it is for an injured party to make a personal injury claim. A victim of negligence, whether from a dog bite, a car accident or a motorcycle accident, or the family involved in a wrongful death case, needs to know that they’ve turned to a trusted, local representative who knows the law and cares about their clients. Our team has a proven 98% success rate that we’re proud to display on our website. We’ve also recovered more than $10 million in costs.

There is no reason that anyone should suffer from the negligent actions of another person without some sort of compensation for their loss. We are available to help you improve your situation and live a better life. Contact us today at (888) 465-0540 or via email at [email protected] to discuss your unique personal injury situation. We offer a free consultation.

Posted by

Michael Avanesian

Michael Avanesian, the founder and driving force behind Avian Law Group, is a passionate and dedicated attorney with a strong background in personal injury law. As a partner at JT Legal Group, Michael led the growth of the personal injury practice from a single employee to a team of over ninety professionals, securing over $2 billion in settlements for clients in just three years.

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