In personal injury cases, the focus of the court is to get to the entire truth of the circumstances of the injury, including the events leading up to the injury, how the injury occurred, who was at fault, and which individual or business entity is liable for the victim’s damages. Damages in a personal injury case include the injury victim’s economic costs like medical expenses and lost income, and also the non-economic consequences of the injury like pain and suffering.
A key part of a personal injury lawsuit in which an injured victim seeks compensation for their damages is their deposition. Deposing a witness means acquiring their sworn testimony about what occurred. Both sides of a personal injury case obtain critical information for their arguments for or against compensation from the injury victim’s deposition.
When an injury victim alleges that their injury would not have occurred if the at-fault party had taken reasonable care to prevent it, the allegedly at-fault party and their insurance company representative have a right to seek information about the injury, perform their own investigation, acquire documented evidence, and to hear sworn testimony from the injury victim. While deposing the victim, both the victim’s attorney and the attorney for the defendant, who is the alleged negligent party or wrongdoer in the case will ask the injury victim questions such as the following:
As a victim of someone else’s negligence, reckless action, or wrongdoing, the deposition is your chance to have a voice in your own case. Often, it’s the key to achieving a substantial settlement for your damages. In some cases, the insurance company of the party at fault may offer a settlement at the end of the victim’s deposition. In other cases, both sides request copies of the court transcript of the deposition and continue their investigations before taking the matter to court for a jury to decide.
Because the deposition is critical to your case and your chance to tell your story, there are important points to consider while preparing.
It’s critical to be fully prepared for the process by going over the details of what you should expect with your attorney ahead of the date of your deposition. It’s important to understand that you’ll be under oath during your deposition and that everything you say is recorded and entered into a transcript.
It’s important to look dignified and respectful of the legal process. For a deposition, you should choose business attire and avoid wearing anything bright, flashy, or distracting.
You should answer every question respectfully, truthfully, and to the best of your ability, including those from the opposing side. Try to be calm and factual and avoid acting overly emotional.
Answer all questions succinctly, without volunteering extraneous information.
Your Seattle personal injury attorney will be present for your deposition and will protect your rights and object to any questions that are leading, improper, or irrelevant. With proper preparation, a deposition in a personal injury case doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience. Instead, it’s your chance to have a voice in the process.
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