What Questions are Asked at a Deposition?
If you bring a lawsuit after a car accident, then you might need to give a deposition. A deposition takes place during the discovery phase of a lawsuit, where each side can request information from the other to help identify what issues are really in dispute.
You will probably meet in a conference room at a law firm, with both sides to the dispute present, along with their attorneys. The deposition will be recorded, either by a court reporter or by video. You will answer questions under oath, just like you would at a trial.
Many of our clients are nervous about their upcoming deposition and want to know what to expect. In this article, we’ll identify some of the most common deposition questions for auto accidents.
Basic Background Information
You will need to provide simple background information on yourself, such as:
- Address and phone number
- Date of birth
- Current residence
- Your educational background (high school graduate? college? postgrad?)
- Your family (married? children?)
- Employment (where you have worked the past several years)
Medical History Questions
If you are suing for a car accident, chances are very high you have suffered bodily injuries. Unsurprisingly, car accident deposition questions will focus on your medical history:
- Names of doctors you have seen over the past decade
- Any medical conditions that predate the car accident (such as a heart attack 5 years ago)
- Any chronic health problems (asthma, chronic pain, etc.)
Lawyers ask these questions because they are hoping to claim that the injuries you suffered in the car accident really pre-existed the accident, which means the amount of compensation they need to pay would be dramatically reduced.
Your Experience with the Legal System
You might be surprised to be asked the following:
- Do you have a criminal history? If so, what were you convicted of?
- Have you ever brought a lawsuit before or a workers’ compensation claim?
Here are the reasons they are asking them: if you have a felony conviction, the lawyer might be able to use it to discredit your testimony at trial. This doesn’t always happen, but the New Jersey Rule of Evidence 609 allows it in some situations.
Also, if you have filed personal injury lawsuits or claims before, the lawyers want to know why. You might have filed a workers’ comp claim for a bad back, which the lawyer will try to claim is the real cause of your pain after the car accident.
The lawyer wants to better understand how the accident unfolded. You can expect very detailed questions about the following:
- The day, time, and location of the accident
- The weather conditions during the accident
- The traffic conditions the day of the accident
- What you were doing in the moments before the collision
- Your speed before the collision
- When you first saw the other vehicle
- How fast you think the other vehicle was travelling
- Where the vehicles ended up after the crash
- What was said after the accident, if anything
- Any witnesses to the accident, such as a passenger in your vehicle or a bystander
After asking about your medical history, the lawyer will want to drill down and ask about the injuries you suffered after the accident:
- The injuries you were diagnosed with after the accident
- Who you saw for treatment (name of doctor and hospital)
- Whether you are taking prescription drugs
- The amount of your medical bills for treatment
- How much time away you have missed work
- Your pain, on a scale of 1-10
- The location of any pain
- How your life has been disrupted after the accident
Talking about the pain you feel can be very emotional. If you need a break during the deposition, then tell your attorney.
Reach out to Us Today
If you have been injured in a car accident, we can help. Many people try to handle their own claims before they quickly realize they are in over their heads. We can handle all the legal work and prepare you properly for a deposition.
Contact us at O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC, today to get started.