When a personal injury claim starts slowly moving toward a trial, it’s not uncommon for a deposition to be scheduled. Depositions offer the opportunity for the representatives of the insurance company defending the case to ask you questions about your claim.
While not exactly a trial, depositions are taken under oath, and your statements will be recorded. What you say can later be used as part of the court proceedings — so it’s very important to prepare yourself ahead of time for this process.
What to know about handling yourself in a deposition
Keep in mind that the defense isn’t just paying attention to what you say — they’re paying attention to how you hold up under questioning. Calm, clear, factually correct answers and a steady demeanor make it harder for them to find weaknesses to exploit.
With that in mind, remember these rules:
- Go over your notes or journal. Make sure that you are able to clearly discuss your physical and emotional injuries, the treatments you’ve received, the ways that your life has changed since the accident and what limitations you now have at work or in your personal life.
- Never exaggerate, joke or speak in hyperbole. It’s okay to say that you have good days and bad days. It’s okay to say that you aren’t sure about something. It’s better to say, “I don’t know,” than to make guesses or mistakes.
- Don’t rush your answer. Make sure you completely understand the question and pause before you speak. This gives your attorney time to object to any improper questions.
- Remain polite. No matter how upsetting this process may be, don’t let the other side goad you into a combative or defensive stance. Stay cool.
Personal injury claims can be very complicated. Working with an experienced legal advocate is the best way to protect your interests and your future.