Many personal injury cases do not go to trial. They are more likely to be resolved outside of court with an insurance settlement. If your case does go to trial, you may need to start preparing for a Texas deposition in your personal injury case. A personal injury lawyer can explain the deposition process and the questions you are likely to be asked. A lawyer can also help you prepare your testimony in advance.
A deposition is a serious matter that you should not face alone. You will be placed under oath, are honor-bound to provide truthful answers, and your answers will be recorded. The at-fault party in your personal injury case and their legal and insurance representatives will ask questions to try to minimize their client’s liability. Your lawyer will help you answer questions truthfully but carefully because providing false answers can lead to serious penalties.
What Is a Deposition?
According to the United States District Court of Texas, a deposition is a legal proceeding designed to allow the plaintiff and defendant to gain information from the other side, including the main party, witnesses, and others. When you are scheduled for deposition, the representative for the other side will be notified and given an opportunity to ask questions as part of the cross-examination process.
A deposition is a discovery tool, and the testimony you give may be used to gather information about the accident. They may also be used at trial if your case goes that far. Your testimony will be recorded in writing or via video and made available to both parties. A strong deposition can help bolster and support your right to recover damages.
Make Yourself Comfortable
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, eat a healthy breakfast, and ask for breaks as needed. You should also be careful if you are asked a long series of questions with one-word answers.
Think about your response to each individual question rather than parroting yes or no repeatedly. Doing so could cause you to subconsciously answer a question incorrectly. During deposition preparations, your lawyer may help you learn to recognize this danger and avoid falling into it.
What Questions Will I Be Asked?
You can face a wide variety of questions as part of your deposition. You may not know exactly what they are until they are asked. They will include questions about your background and the events that led up to the accident in question. You will be asked about:
- Your actions immediately prior to the accident
- Your symptoms, injuries, and treatment plan
- Your health care professionals and facilities
- Your injury’s effect on your ability to work
- Damage to your vehicle or other property
Your deposition can last for several hours. The best way to respond to questions is to:
- Listen to the question carefully and be sure you understand it before responding
- Listen to your attorney, who may ask you not to answer certain questions
- Take your time and answer each question rather than rushing and blurting out responses
- Do not exaggerate or hedge; instead, stick to short, simple, succinct responses
- Only answer questions you know the answer to and do not justify your responses
Do not allow yourself to be Your lawyer will work with you in advance of the deposition. He can help you anticipate relevant questions and prepare appropriate answers.
Do Not Answer Confusing Questions
Even for a well-prepared witness, a deposition can be scary. Nervousness can also make it difficult to concentrate. Relax as much as possible and think through each question.
If you do not understand a question, you should ask for clarity until you do. By answering a question, you might leave others with the assumption that you understood the question. Be cautious when answering questions about time or distance. Review them with your lawyer ahead of time.
Do Not Do the Other Side’s Job for Them
In other words, answer the question you were asked—and only that question. Do not elaborate or answer beyond the scope of what you were asked. Aim for the shortest, most simple answer to the question and avoid offering opinions versus stating facts. After representatives for the other side finish deposing you, your own lawyer will have the chance to cross-examine you.
He may ask you more probative questions geared toward longer answers. He will prepare you for these questions ahead of time. Follow your lawyer’s lead and remember the strategy you and your lawyer worked on beforehand.
Call for a Free Consultation Before You Are Deposed
If you are involved in upcoming litigation in a personal injury case, a lawyer can help you prepare for a deposition in Texas. You do not have to navigate this complex legal process on your own. Contact one of our D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ team members by calling (713) 850-8600 to learn more about how we can help.