Protecting the Rights
of Injury Victims

Thomas DeLattre and Glen D. Wieland

What to know about being deposed in a personal injury case

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2024 | Personal Injury |

Making the decision to pursue a personal injury lawsuit is a big one. While it might be the only way to recover the compensation that you need, it also sets in motion a legal process that you might find confusing, stressful, and downright overwhelming. That can be especially true once you realize that, as a plaintiff, there’s a good chance that the defense is going to depose you.

What is a deposition?

A deposition is a discovery tool, meaning that the defense can use it to gauge the evidence that you have and the testimony that you intend to present in court. How it works is that the defense subpoenas you, indicating the date, time, and location at which you need to appear for the deposition.

Upon arrival, you will take an oath indicating that you will tell the truth, and you’ll be subjected to questioning by the defense attorney. These questions will likely probe every aspect of your accident and your recovery, and the attorney might come across aggressively.

What’s the purpose of deposition?

While a deposition is a strong discovery tool, it can also be a powerful weapon at trial. Since your deposition is recorded, the defense attorney can use statements that you made at the deposition against you.

For example, say you testified at your deposition that you slammed on the brakes after entering an intersection, but then at trial indicate that you applied the brakes before entering the intersection. What might seem like a minor difference in detail will be used to try to show that your testimony is unreliable and shouldn’t be trusted.

How to prepare for your deposition

If you’re going to be deposed, then you need to be prepared. Here are some steps you can take to successfully get through your deposition:

  • Prior to the deposition, replay in your mind the events leading up to your accident so that you can clearly articulate what you remember.
  • Review your medical records and what you’ve done up to this point to advance your recovery.
  • Review social media posts and anything else that the defense might turn to in an attempt to minimize your accident injuries.
  • Thoroughly listen to the questions being asked before answering them.
  • Take the time you need to think through your answer and to carefully formulate your response.
  • Only answer the question that’s asked without volunteering additional information.
  • Don’t guess when invited to speculate on something.
  • Refrain from joking about the accident or your recovery.
  • Speak to only facts that you know.
  • Don’t interrupt the attorney who is asking you questions.
  • If you don’t remember something, say so.

The deposition process can be incredibly stressful. Even though it’s less formal than trial testimony, it can still feel very formal in nature. And given the implications that your deposition testimony can have, it’s critically important. So, if you anticipate being subpoenaed, then you should take the time needed to properly prepare for your depositional testimony.

Have a strong legal strategy going into your personal injury case

There are a lot of moving pieces in your personal injury case, and each one has to be properly handled if you want to maximize your chances of success. That might sound overwhelming, but with a little bit of guidance you might be feel the burden of building your case lifted off your shoulders.


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