If you’ve sustained serious injuries in a car accident, then you likely have a lot at stake.
In that case, you’re in for a battle. Who are your opponents?
The at-fault driver and their insurance company will make up the opposing team.
You and your car accident lawyer will make every attempt to prove that you were in the right and the other driver should pay for your medical expenses, your missed time from work, and any other damages you might be owed.
What is the Deposition?
During a deposition, the opposing counsel will ask you a series of questions. This counsel can either represent the interests of the insurance company or the interests of the other driver.
The point of a deposition is to ensure that there are no surprises during the trial—if it should get that far. Depositions are part of the process of discovery. You, witnesses for you, and the other driver are all asked questions under oath.
During this process, the insurance company or the attorney for the other driver should get a good idea for which way the case is going to head if it should get in front of a jury. While drivers and their counsel can be more unpredictable, insurance companies don’t like wasting time or money in front of a jury. They will pay as little as they can, but they’re not going to spend a lot of money to do it.
In other words, unless they think the case is a sure thing, it’s usually cheaper to pay the injured party what they’re asking for up to the policy limit.
What Should You Expect During a Deposition?
Opposing counsel will ask you various questions regarding the facts of the case. The court reporter records every question and answer. It’s best to simply answer honestly, directly, and without offering any extra information. Simple one-word answers are the best when dealing with opposing counsel.
Tricks for Dealing with a Deposition
1. Come prepared
With car accident depositions, proper preparation is one of the keys to navigating the process in a successful manner. Your attorney will help you prepare for the deposition. They’ll help you anticipate what opposing counsel might throw at you.
2. Be honest
You can’t attempt to deceive the court or the process of justice. It could result in your case being dismissed. Do not tell lies or intentionally mislead other parties. Your credibility matters.
3. Listen carefully
During a car accident deposition, many injured victims run into problems because they do not actually listen to the questions that they are being asked.
Do not make assumptions: When you are being asked a question, take your time to understand it. You do not have to respond immediately. It is perfectly acceptable to take a few seconds to think about your answer or to ask for clarification.
4. Don’t play their games
A lot of times, opposing counsel will ask broad questions in the hopes that they find something to damage your case with. You want your answers to be short and sweet. If you’re not sure, say you’re not sure. If you need clarification on the question, ask for clarification. Do not offer any information. Do not speculate.
5. Don’t fall into traps
Opposing counsel may ask questions that seem like they’re unnecessarily provocative or irrelevant. They’re trying to throw you off or provoke you. If that’s their game, don’t play it. Don’t lose your cool or get combative. Let your attorney object to any inappropriate questions.
6. Always refer to the documents
When you prepare for a car accident deposition, there are often a lot of documents that must be reviewed. You will generally be given access to relevant documents during a deposition. If documents are presented to you during the deposition, be sure to refer to them. There is no rush. Feel free to take your time to read through the document in question or to ask clarifying questions.
A deposition is not a test of your knowledge of the document. You can always re-read relevant pages.
7. Do not speculate
Finally, perhaps the single most important tip for dealing with a car accident deposition is to never speculate. You are under no obligation to speculate or to engage in hypotheticals. It is not your job to determine what could or should have happened under different circumstances.
Let your Yakima, WA car accident attorney deal with those issues. Simply stick to the hard and straightforward facts of the case.
Talk to a Yakima Car Accident Lawyer
If your case goes into litigation, Kapuza Lighty, PLLC will help you through the process of being deposed. It can be intimidating, and opposing counsel knows that, but it’s also necessary when your injuries are extensive.
There is a lot at stake for both parties and the process is intrinsically adversarial. If you need to pursue an action against a party that caused your injuries, give us a call or contact us online and we can discuss your options today.