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When someone is caused personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, one of the most important stages in the personal injury lawsuit timeline is when depositions are recorded. As a Phoenix personal injury lawyer with decades of experience, Mike Lyding understands that being deposed is often one of the most stressful steps in the process.  However, being prepared and thorough can dramatically affect the success of a personal injury lawsuit.  

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is sworn testimony given out of the courtroom during the discovery phase. During a deposition, you will be sworn under oath, and the insurance company’s lawyers will question you about your personal injury claim, and your personal injury lawyer will also have a chance to ask you questions to be put on the record. The questions and your responses will be either recorded or transcribed by a court reporter, and will be considered evidence which could be presented to a jury and/or the judge.  

Why Is a Deposition Important?

As mentioned before, depositions are one of the most important parts of any personal injury lawsuit. It’s the first opportunity to share your side of the story, and gives both sides to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case. When a plaintiff presents strong, factually consistent testimony during a deposition, it can strengthen their claim and lead to a more favorable settlement, sparing the stress of an actual trial. On the other hand, if a plaintiff has testimony that is inconsistent, their credibility could be questioned. Every statement made during a deposition is analyzed by opposing counsel, and misspeaking could have serious ramifications. 

Tips For Giving a Deposition In Your Personal Injury Case
It’s understandable that having to give sworn testimony can be stressful, especially when there’s so much at stake. By being prepared, you will be less anxious, and more likely to give statements that can strengthen your personal injury claim.  Here are some of our top tips for giving a deposition in a personal injury case.

    • Be Prepared. Knowing what to expect during your deposition is the best thing you can do! If you’re not prepared, you will be more likely to make mistakes or become too defensive. Before your deposition, it’s a great idea to review all of your medical records, notes, and any other evidence you have that may refresh your memory and help strengthen your testimony. The following topics are some of the things the lawyers will likely ask you about: 
      • Physical, emotional, and financial injuries as a result of the accident
      • The frequency and severity of your symptoms 
      • How the injuries have affected your quality of life
      • Pre-existing conditions
      • The medical care and treatment you’ve received from the accident
    • Don’t Exaggerate or Misrepresent What Happened. Honesty is always the best policy, and while you may be tempted to exaggerate the pain and injuries you have as a result of the accident, doing so can have damaging effects on your case. If you are dishonest or exaggerate, the lawyers for the insurance company will discredit your claims during settlement negotiations or in court in front of the judge and jury. Even if you believe your answer will not portray you in a positive light, it’s important to be honest. You will hurt your case more if you are untruthful or evasive. 
  • Keep Your Answers Short and Simple. During your deposition, you may feel tempted to share the full story of the accident. Remember that the opposing lawyers are using everything you say to build a case against you. If you give long, detailed answers, you’re likely helping them do their job. Instead, answer their questions with the simplest, shortest, most honest answers possible. Don’t offer up details until they ask. 
  • Remain Polite and Professional. The other lawyers are going to be asking you personal and uncomfortable questions, and may try to get under your skin. This is done in an attempt to undermine your credibility and shake your confidence. Try to remain polite and professional, and resist becoming combative or angry. If you need time to think (and breathe), take your time and answer questions slowly – and ask if you need a question repeated or if you don’t understand the question. Your personal injury lawyer will be present with you, so they will likely object to any leading or inappropriate questions posed by the defense, so let them do their job in protecting you. If you need a moment to step away to calm down and compose yourself, ask for a short break. 
  • Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer To Help You Be Prepared. When preparing for a personal injury case, the earlier you get help from an experienced personal injury attorney, the better. Depositions can be extremely stressful, and your “performance” can dramatically impact the trajectory of your case, and your life. The best thing you can do to be prepared for giving a deposition that will strengthen your claim, is to hire a personal injury attorney that will work closely with you to help you understand the process and guide you through the discovery phase. 

A Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney That Will Fight For You

At Lyding Personal Injury, Mike has been fighting for victims of personal injury cases in the Phoenix area for decades. Before you speak with insurance companies, give Mike a call to see how he can advocate for you. Contact him today via his direct line (602-395-0045) or via email: [email protected]

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