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What If I Am Asked to Provide a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?

Published on August 18th, 2019

Personal Injury Lawyer

Let’s say you filed a claim to seek compensation for a personal injury accident. Of course, it is highly advisable that you obtain an attorney during this time for advice and guidance along the way. However, many may forget to consider just how impactful a court reporter can be, especially if providing a deposition is needed. The outcome of personal injury case often depends on how much evidence can be brought forward. Having a transcript to refer to as you and your attorney are developing a strategy, can be key in being awarded a fair amount in financial compensation from the opposition. 

What Happens in a Deposition?

Essentially, a deposition is a meeting where both parties in the case answer questions from the other. For instance, the plaintiff’s attorney may ask the defendant about details of the accident, as a way to gain more information about what happened. Common questions revolve around the incident itself, how injuries were caused, if the reasons in what led to the accident are disputed, and the extent of injuries. In total, a deposition may include the plaintiff, defendant, their respective attorneys, and a court reporter. 

It can be unnerving to know that you are being recorded during the personal injury deposition. What can help you remain calm is reminding yourself that your attorney is there to protect you, and that you can go back and make changes to the record if you deem appropriate. 

What Rules Do I Have to Follow?

The court reporter is going put everyone in the deposition under oath. So, this means it is of vast importance that you speak only the truth. It is also crucial that you understand the question that is being asked of you, and answer it directly without offering more information than what is needed. If you do not know the answer to a question, you can simply say so. Or, if you are confused about the question, you can request it is repeated or rephrased. You are under no obligation to answer a question that is confusing or intentionally misleading (which your attorney can help protect you from). 

When answering an inquiry by the opposing attorney during the deposition, ensure that it is responded to verbally. The court reporter may not be able to write down that you nodded your head or infer what other gestures mean. The role of New York court reporters is to be unbiased and not let their feelings interfere with what is written in the official transcript. 

Do not guess or contemplate out loud if you do not know the answer to a question. What can happen if you do speculate, is you could make an assumption that is wrong or end up offering information that can be used against you by the opposition. If it is asked of you to provide your best estimate, then it is acceptable that you do. It will reflect on record that the question that it may not be an exact response. 

 

Thanks to Veritext for their insight into court reporters and depositions for personal injury cases.

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