What To Expect In A Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

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Madeleine Jones
April 13, 2021

If you’re involved in an accident that requires the attention of a personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, you will most likely need to face a deposition at some point. We understand your accident might be traumatic enough, but the deposition is legally required no matter the stress it will likely cause you. Apart from having a personal injury attorney by your side, for a deposition, your best weapon is knowledge. Let’s go over what a deposition actually is, what its consequences are, and some tips. Remember, if you are one of the thousands of people every year who has suffered from an accident in Las Vegas, you should always have a lawyer present at your deposition. Keep reading to learn what to expect in a deposition in a personal injury case.

gavel on a dark table resting on the block.

What Is a Deposition?

In simple words, a deposition is a documented, oftentimes videotaped, series of questions asked by attorneys. It is similar to cross-examination at court. The at-fault party’s attorney will ask you questions under oath.  Under Nevada law you can be prosecuted for perjury, but it is very rare. However, a deposition is much less formal than a court cross-examination.

Usually, all parties agree on where to meet (like a conference room), set up a camera, and just start the questionnaire. This can be really overwhelming, so it’s always a good idea to have an experienced Nevada attorney on your side throughout the deposition. This attorney can object to questions that otherwise would not be admissible in court and let you know when you have the right not to answer a question if it’s not in your best interest.

What Is The Purpose Of A Deposition?

Depositions used for criminal cases, like distracted driving, are actually very rare. The criminal justice system in Nevada always looks to have every party present in court to testify before a jury during proceedings. There can be exceptions to this, if a person is under the age of 16, if the person is not of sound mind, or deceased, etc.

Your deposition will not likely be used as evidence in a criminal case, but it can be possible. You have to remember that this can end up being an official testimony, so it’s pretty serious.

The state of Nevada also uses depositions in civil cases. It’s used during the discovery phase when both parties collect evidence against each other. Usually, there’s a witness list, and everyone can be interviewed.

Now, let’s go over what to expect in a deposition in an injury case.

What To Expect In A Deposition?

During a deposition, the questions asked will depend on the specifics of the personal injury case. One of the main goals of a deposition is to get as much information as possible from the deponent about the injury and the accident. These questions can touch on several different subjects. They can include:

  • Personal questions such as what is your name, address, etc.?
  • Have you ever testified in a case before?
  • How did you prepare for this deposition?
  • How did your accident happen?
  • Who was involved in your accident?
  • Did you go to a hospital right after your accident?
  • What is your exact injury diagnosis?
  • How has your life changed after the injury?

Not every question asked during deposition has to be answered. You are actually allowed to say “I don’t know”. If, however, you do have an answer, you must tell the truth as best as you can.

Tips To Prepare For a Deposition

#1 Prepare For Obvious Questions

Preparing in advance for the questions may help you avoid getting defensive or making mistakes during a deposition. You should review your evidence such as accident reports or medical records before giving any testimony in a deposition to refresh your memory about important details like the injuries you suffered, the severity of your symptoms, and treatments you have used, etc.

#2 Listen Carefully

Carefully listening to the questions may help you provide thoughtful, accurate answers that support your claims. The defense can use leading questions, or other techniques to get you to give statements that can be potentially damaging. Therefore, you should not anticipate a question and instead, you should listen closely to every question and take your time to process what was asked before giving an answer.

If you don’t understand the question, remember you can ask for clarification. Answering without fully understanding the question can result in you providing incorrect statements.

#3 Give Honest Answers

You should be truthful and refrain from exaggerations when answering questions in a personal injury case deposition. Under oath, statements can be looked at by the defense for any falseness they can use against the plaintiff. If you’re not sure of an answer or don’t remember, you should say you don’t know or can’t recall instead of guessing or giving an inaccurate answer.

#4 Avoid Absolutes Answers

You should also avoid giving absolute answers during a deposition to avoid getting caught in any contradictions that can be used against you to weaken your claims. Unless you’re sure of your answer, you should avoid using the words “always” and “never” when answering questions. For example, if you testified to never having had neck pain and the defense finds evidence of one doctor’s visit from 7 years ago, the integrity of all of your answers could be called into question.

#5 Limit Responses

The answers you give during a deposition should be short and to the point. A deposition is not the time for an injury victim to tell their stories. Instead, it is a chance for them to give actual statements that each party will use to build their arguments. If you give too much information or too many details that were not asked for it may provide the defense arguments to use against you in settlement negotiations.

#6 Be Professional and Courteous

When giving a deposition, you should maintain professional and polite behavior. Depositions require the same level of formality as hearings in a courtroom. You should arrive early or be there on time and wear business casual attire. Since the attorneys are evaluating your likeability and credibility, it’s important to make a good impression.

Personal Injury Attorneys in Las Vegas

Now that you know what to expect in a deposition it’s time to call us. Cogburn Law specializes in personal injury law and is knowledgeable in the deposition process. Our lawyers can help you achieve the best possible result after going through your case in a free consultation. To get started, call us at (702) 748-7777 for a free initial consultation today.  Remember, we don’t get paid until you win!