Depositions are critical in personal injury cases and must be handled adequately. If they aren’t handled well, it could mean not winning a settlement. In order for a deposition to be successful, the right questions must be asked. Here are some important questions lawyers should ask to get high-quality depositions:
- Preliminary/Introductory Questions
It’s important to obtain basic identification and background information about the deponent during this stage. Here are some of the questions lawyers may want to ask:
- What is your name and date of birth?
- Where do you live
- Have you ever taken a deposition before?
Asking the deponent if he or she has taken a deposition lets a personal injury lawyer know if he or she understands the process or not. If this person has given depositions in the past, it’s okay to ask more information about the case. Other important questions to ask in this stage include:
- I want to let you know the ground rules. Is that okay with you?
- During a deposition, the court reporter records everything you say. That’s why it’s essential to always respond with words instead of gestures. Do you understand?
- To prevent the court reporter from missing what was said, neither of us should talk over one another. Do you understand?
- Do you realize that you are under oath and you are sworn to tell the truth?
- If you don’t understand a question, don’t be afraid to speak up. I can rephrase the question. Do you understand?
- Questions Relating to the Accident
The purpose of this session is to obtain the deponent’s side of the story relating to the accident. In order to get detailed answers, it’s critical to ask good questions. For example, if there is a car accident lawsuit, the lawyer might inquire about weather conditions, road conditions and if there was a lot of traffic at the time of the accident. If there was a slip and fall accident, the lawyer might want to find out if there were any warning signs.
- Questions Relating to the Damage Claims
The session concentrates on finding the accurate valuation of the damages caused by the accident. Some of the questions lawyers may ask include:
- Did you have any medical conditions before the accident?
- Did the accident prevent you from doing your job and other activities?
- How much medical is required to treat your injury?
It’s important for all of these questions and answers to be recorded by an experienced court reporter New York trusts to view and reference later.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions.