Missouri Personal Injury Depositions
A deposition is a tool used by attorneys during the pre-trial or “discovery” stage of a personal injury lawsuit. The purpose of a deposition is to lock down information, facts and evidence. During a deposition, the deponent appears at a specified time and place, and answers questions under oath with a court reporter present. All questions and answers asked during a deposition are on the record.
In a personal injury case, depositions usually occur after a lawsuit is filed, but before the case goes to trial. By serving a subpoena, an individual can be required to attend and give the deposition. Lawyers ask questions of the person being deposed. Deposition testimony is often used in court. It’s important for a deponent to prepare for a deposition. If you are being deposed, you likely have a lawyer already. If you don’t, you may want to think about getting one to help protect your rights.
Why Do You Need to Do a Deposition?
When an injury victim files a personal injury suit, the opposing side has a legal right to find out what information you have and what your injuries are. This allows the defense to gather additional information they may need to settle the case. If the case isn’t settled after deposition, it will help all parties prepare for trial. Although rare, depositions can be by written question.
Questions You Can Expect in an Injury Case
In a personal injury case, the defense attorney will usually ask questions that cover the following:
- General background information, family, education, work history, etc.
- Information about your physical condition and health before the injury occurred.
- Information about how the accident occurred, if there were witnesses or reports filed.
- The type of medical treatment and care you received after the injury. For example, the defense counsel may ask you if you underwent surgery, got physical therapy or how long you stayed away from work in order to recover.
- What impact the injuries had on your daily life including what you could or couldn’t do, compared to when you were not injured.
- The amount of money you lost, the expenses you incurred as a result of the injury.
- A complete list of illnesses or injuries you have suffered before and after the injury.
Preparing for a Deposition
Prepare to answer questions precisely and concisely. Pay careful attention to the question being asked. Answer that question. This will help the deposition move along at a decent pace.
Dress like you would for a job interview. If you need a break, ask for a break – whether it’s to stretch your legs, use the restroom, hydrate or get something to eat. You need to be comfortable and relaxed during the deposition.
If you don’t remember a specific detail, say so. A deposition isn’t a memory contest. Once you give an answer during a deposition, it’s recorded. Take your time and think hard before answering. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t understand a question. You can ask the lawyer to rephrase the question. Never answer a question you don’t completely understand.
The Missouri personal injury attorneys at Page Law are experienced when it comes to preparing clients for depositions. We will guide you through the process. Call us at (314)322-8515 for a free and comprehensive consultation.