Car accident claims sometimes require a lawsuit. In those cases, usually an insurance company gives unjustified excuses why they should not pay. If a lawsuit occurs, a very common method of gathering information by the insurance company’s lawyer is called a deposition.
A deposition, for a car accident, is a discussion of your accident, taken under oath by the attorney for the responsible person in front of a court reporter. The court reporter types out everything that is said (it looks likes a magazine with questions and answers).
You should take a deposition as seriously as you would your testimony at trial because if you say anything different at trial, the insurance company lawyer will use that against you, asking “When were you telling the truth, at the time of the deposition six months ago or now?”
In preparation for your car accident deposition, here are some helpful tips you should consider:
- Do not bring any materials, including personal notes, to the deposition room unless they have been specifically reviewed and approved in advance by your personal injury lawyer.
- Listen carefully to each question before answering insurance company lawyer’s question.
- Answer every question honestly. You are under oath and false answers and lying may have severe legal consequences.
- Do not volunteer information. Always think before answering a question.
- Speak slowly, clearly and loud enough so that the court reporter will be able to take down every word.
- Be polite, as the insurance lawyer will form an impression of you as a witness.
- You do not have to give an answer. Rather, you are there to give your best testimony, not guess.
- If asked about a document, read it carefully before providing a response.
- Think about, pause, and speak slowly before beginning each answer.
- Do not argue with the insurance company’s lawyer but be courteous.
- You may talk privately with our law firm’s car personal injury lawyer at any time. Our job, amongst many things, is to protect your from being harassed and make sure that you are asked proper questions.
- You may, where appropriate, qualify your answers with words such as “to the best of my recollection…” and “I believe…”
- Do not guess.
- Answer only the question that is asked. Do not anticipate or assume questions.
- If told not to answer a question by your personal injury lawyer, do not answer the question.
- Do not do anything unexpected unless you have first discussed it with your auto accident attorney.
- Be mindful that this deposition is only one phase of the case.
- Do not hesitate to say that you do not know something.
- On complicated or difficult questions, you may state that you need time to consider the answer. Meaning, think the answer to this question quietly to yourself, not out loud where the auto accident lawyer for the insurance company will take advantage of your over answering the questions.
- If you feel tired or uncomfortable at any point, do not hesitate to ask for a break.
- Do not be influenced by the insurance company attorney’s friendliness, apparent cooperativeness or courtesy. Remember, the insurance company’s lawyer is out to pay you as little as possible. This attorney may even try to score points with an insurance company to obtain additional business on your behalf.
- Finally, do not wear casual clothing, flashy jewelry or a lot of makeup at the deposition. Wear nice dress type clothing that you are comfortable wearing. Remember, a deposition could take several hours to complete and you do not want to be uncomfortable during the questioning. For example, if you never wear a suit, or perhaps do not wear a ties, do not wear any of these clothes. However, you should wear nice presentable clothes, as if you were going to a job interview at a nice company. Also, the deposition may even be videotaped to be played later in front of a judge or jury.
Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side.
If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines