So you’ve filed a lawsuit, and now the insurance company lawyer wants to take your deposition. What is a deposition and is this something you should be worried about?
Depositions are a routine part of what lawyers call “discovery.” Discovery is the exchange of information between the parties to litigation, and it happens in every lawsuit that is filed. In my 22 years of practicing law in Everett, Seattle, and the rest of Washington I have never seen a case in which the insurance company lawyer did not take the plaintiff’s deposition.
In your deposition, the insurance company lawyer will ask you questions about your medical and health history, your employment history, and other personal information. She will ask you about how the accident happened, and she will ask you to describe your injuries and your medical treatment. She will also likely ask you to talk about how your life was affected by your injuries, and what activities you were prevented from doing because of those injuries.
The most important piece of advice I give my clients going into a deposition is simple: TELL THE TRUTH. A good lawyer will never take a case unless he believes the truth is good enough to win. In your deposition, you are sworn to tell the truth, and the worst thing you could do is violate that oath.
The second thing I tell clients going into a deposition is to realize that it’s ok to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” A deposition often takes place months or even years after the accident. It isn’t reasonable to expect you to remember every detail about the accident and your medical treatment. That being said, it would be very bad to answer every question with “I don’t remember.”
Finally, remember that the deposition does not help your case. You will not prove your case in your deposition, and no matter how good you are, the insurance company will not all of a sudden write you a big check. The insurance company attorney is using the deposition to build a case against you, and anything you say can and will be used against you in court. While you should always be honest and polite, you should be cautious about falling into a casual or conversational mode with the other side’s attorney. Just answer the questions without explanation or elaboration, and then wait for the next question.
Of course, if you are represented by an attorney, you should spend some time with your attorney before your deposition and make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed before you go into your deposition.
A deposition is a routine procedure that happens in every case, and it is nothing to be scared of, but it is important that you take it seriously. If you have more questions about depositions, or anything related to the personal injury claims process, please explore our website or give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.