As a Dothan, Alabama injury lawyer preparing a client for a deposition I want the client to be able to thoroughly and in detail describe their damages which include compensatory damages such as out of pocket expenses like medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning potential, pain and suffering and mental anguish, loss of consortium of a spouse and punitive damages. This should be genuine and not exaggerated and not minimized either. I have witnessed people that greatly exaggerate their injuries and damages and people that act like they are not really injured when they are clearly not able to do what they once did. Both can negatively impact the value of the case. The client must be prepared.
The client must also be prepared to deal with traps that the insurance defense attorneys will set to try to get the client to fall into a defense such as assumption of the risk or contributory negligence. Further, if the client has gaps in treatment of a significant time period after the injury or pre-existing injuries, the client must be prepared to address it. Additionally, the client should be prepared to deal with any other potentially negative aspects of their case as well as areas that might be sensitive or confidential in nature. These are areas that the client should be reminded to listen to the question and for any objection that their lawyer makes or for their lawyer’s instructions or direction. I also remind my clients that it is their deposition, and that we are in charge. They are at my office, and we are all there for them. I will not tolerate a client being bullied or attempted to be taken advantage of. We will take a break and talk any time they want.
Of course, the clients should be encouraged to listen carefully and to focus on each question that is asked by the insurance defense attorney and to any objection or direction that their lawyer gives, and to only answer truthfully to the best of their knowledge exactly and precisely what is asked of them, unless an objection or direction from their lawyer suggests otherwise. Do not lie or elaborate unnecessarily or volunteer information or speculate or answer something you are not sure of. If that is necessary, then the client should qualify their answer by saying that “I am not sure” or “I am speculating”. The client needs to be somewhat familiar with the complaint filed on their behalf and their answers to interrogatories and responses to request for production from the insurance defense attorney. Again, most of the time it is best for the client to rely primarily on their lawyer for most of this and not be obligated to get into great detail, but the client does need to be prepared to articulate the basic factual contentions of their case as they know them to be. The client should be prepared to be cordial and respectful of all of the parties involved and to respect the process. In the final part of our series on client deposition preparation, I will give you more information on how this Dothan, Alabama injury lawyer prepares clients.
Aaron Gartlan is a graduate of Troy University and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law who focuses his practice exclusively on representing those injured by the wrongdoing of others. He is member of the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In addition to his legal practice, Aaron teaches Business Law as an adjunct instructor at Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business and serves as a field artillery sergeant in the Alabama National Guard.