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What to expect at a deposition in your personal injury case

When someone else's mistake or negligence has left you seriously injured, you have every right to expect fair compensation for your losses.

You can also expect, however, that the insurance companies involved won't exactly hurry to pay up. You will very likely have to file a lawsuit to get what you're due -- and that may eventually mean going through a deposition.

What's a deposition?

A deposition is part of a lawsuit's discovery process, or formal investigation into the circumstances surrounding a claim. Depositions are not part of a trial, but they do echo the trial format in that the person being deposed is under oath and will be subjected to questioning from the opposing party's attorney.

What can you expect?

Depositions are recorded, so it's important to be prepared for that. You may be on film, or there may be a court reporter present to take down everything that's said. Either way, you shouldn't be surprised.

In addition to the attorneys for the opposing side, your attorney will be present throughout the process.

What's the best way to handle a deposition?

The defense is looking not only for weaknesses in your case, but weaknesses in the way that you present yourself. The deposition is a pretty good window into how someone can be expected to stand up to questioning during an actual trial, so remember:

  • Dress nicely. Appearances do count
  • Stay calm. Don't let the opposition bait you into getting angry or upset through their questions.
  • Listen carefully. Don't try to answer any questions until you are 100% certain what is being asked.
  • Never guess. It's better to say you don't remember than to say the wrong thing.
  • Follow your attorney's lead. If your attorney objects to a question, stop talking.

Personal injury lawsuits can be time-consuming and complicated to pursue, especially when they involve serious injuries. Make sure that you have experienced legal assistance at your side to protect your interests.

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