About Your Deposition

In almost every case, the insurance company will ask to take your deposition. They want to take your deposition for several reasons. First, they want to find out about your case. Secondly, they want to lock in your story so they know the answer to everything about your case when they ask you questions at trial. Thirdly, they would like to obtain favorable admissions from you to weaken your chances of winning the case, or at least to minimize the monies they pay. Finally, they would like to weaken your resolve to go forward with the case.

Your lawyer will meet with you prior to your deposition. He will review the types of questions that you are likely to hear. He will refresh your memory with things regarding the incident or your injuries that are no longer as clear to you. He will explain that “truth” is always the safe harbor, and that you must tell the truth even if it hurts your claim. Not only does the law require it, but a good lawyer knows that is what wins cases in the first place.

Your lawyer is likely to explain that you have no duty to volunteer information. Though you must tell the truth, you should only answer the question, and nothing else, unless an explanation is required to make your answer clear. The law requires that you only answer the question asked.

You should not guess at answers. If you have a good estimate, then you should give it, but often witnesses guess at times, and distances and in the process give widely inaccurate information. You should not do this, even if the insurance lawyer artfully asks for you to give a guess. What they do many times is to say, “I understand that you don’t know the distance, but is it less than a football field.” When they gain that admission, they will then narrow the gap by asking questions like, ” was it less than a car length?” The process will continue until they get a range. At trial, the crafty defense lawyer will then use the answer from your range to mislead the jury. So, how do you avoid this deception. Tell them you don’t know the answer if you cannot give them an accurate one. Simply don’t guess.

Your lawyer will be with you at the deposition. He will not say much. You will be expected to answer questions the best that you can, and as honestly as you can. If the other lawyer is blatantly unfair, asks irrelevant questions, or seeks to harass you, a good lawyer will shut the deposition down. Unfortunately, inexperienced lawyers often get run over by seasoned insurance lawyers.

The insurance lawyer will use the deposition to write up his report to his risk managers. They will look at your testimony, and your demeanor to decide if a jury will like you and believe you. Their report will dramatically influence whether they want to settle your case. It is not to be taken lightly. You should be well rested. You should ask for a break about every hour. You should ask the opposing lawyer to clarify any questions you do not understand. Most importantly, tell the truth and you will do fine.

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