How should you prepare for your deposition in your personal injury and accident case?
We are glad you have joined us for this installment and writing regarding the importance of preparing for your deposition. This is packed full of helpful information written with you in mind. We hope you enjoy reading it and will contact us with your questions and comments.
Let Your Lawyer Carry The Burden:
When preparing for your deposition, you do not necessarily need to be burdened with the concern of every detail and possible scenario or potential issue that might arise in the case. In fact, in most instances, it is better for the client to just rely on their lawyer to deal with those things. That said, you must be prepared to talk and answer questions in general about, the theories of liability in which your lawyer has claimed on your behalf. This can easily be explained. You want to avoid statements and testimony that exonerate the person or company sued from liability. Also, answers that express doubt regarding the reasons for filing the lawsuit. Again, it is perfectly acceptable for you to testify that you are relying on the advice and guidance of your lawyer, but we want our clients and you to be able to have a basic understanding of liability and to be able to explain the theories of liability. This requires focused preparation.
Know Your Damages:
As a lawyer preparing a client for a deposition, I want you to be able to thoroughly and in detail describe your injuries and damages which may include but are not limited to: 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. Your description of injuries and damages should be genuine and not exaggerated nor minimized. We have witnessed people who greatly exaggerated their injuries and damages and people who acted like they were not really injured when they were clearly not able to do what they once could. Both can negatively impact the value of the case. Thus, you must be prepared to completely and thoroughly explain your injuries and damages in a truthful and accurate manner.
Be Prepared for Traps and Pitfalls:
We want to help you prepare to deal with traps that the insurance defense attorneys will set to try to get you to fall into a defense, such as assumption of the risk or contributory negligence. Further, if you have gaps in treatment of a significant time period after the injury or pre-existing injuries and medical conditions, then you must be prepared to address those issues effectively.
Deal With Negativity:
Additionally, you should be prepared to deal with any other potentially negative aspect of your case, as well as areas that might be sensitive or confidential in nature. This is why the client should be reminded to listen to the question, as well as 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. Every member of our legal team is there for them. We will not tolerate a client being bullied or being taken advantage of and we will take a break and talk any time they want.
We hope you will return for part three (3) of preparing for your deposition. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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.