How to Prepare for a Personal Injury Deposition in Louisiana
Many Louisiana personal injury lawsuits never see the inside of a courtroom, instead participants typically answer questions during a deposition. Before you perform a deposition or any examination under oath, speak with a Louisiana personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and help you properly prepare to deliver sworn testimony. This includes coaching you on what to expect and how to answer commonly asked questions.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is sworn testimony about a particular incident given out of court. In limited circumstances, your deposition may be used at trial, but its primary purpose is to gather information during the pre-trial discovery process of your lawsuit. The only people present during your deposition are the attorneys for everyone involved and a person qualified to administer oaths.
Unlike a trial, there isn’t a judge present. The most common type of deposition is an oral deposition, in which you participate in a question/answer session with the opposing attorney. There are also written depositions, in which you answer previously determined questions on paper.
What to Expect
Depositions are a common practice to help properly prepare for trail. They usually take place in a law firm’s conference room. A court reporter swears you in, meaning you take an oath to tell the truth, just like you would if you were testifying in court. As the opposing attorney asks you questions, follow these guidelines:
- Tell the truth.
- Listen carefully to each question and only answer the question.
- Watch out for leading, compound, summary or trick questions, or questions that assume facts that aren’t true.
- Don’t allow the opposing attorney to put words in your mouth.
- Ask for clarification, if you don’t understand any part of a question.
- Keep answers short and to the point, don’t volunteer extra information.
- Never guess, if you don’t know the answer, simply state you don’t know or don’t remember.
Your attorney is there to protect you from improper questions, so if he objects, stop talking. Once the secretary records the objection, he tells you whether to answer. You aren’t allowed to talk to your attorney about your testimony, but you are allowed to ask for a break. Depositions can take as little as 30 minutes or last several days.
Common Deposition Questions
Your attorney prepares you for common deposition questions and may even practice asking you questions, so you’re comfortable with the process. Questioning typically begins with general background, such as name, address, birth date, education and employment history, etc.
Followed by questions about the accident, including:
- Where you were going.
- What you were doing when the accident occurred.
- How it happened.
- Who witnessed it.
- What you discussed with others about it.
Next are questions about your injuries, including queries about your physical condition before the accident and past medical conditions potentially related to your current injury. Questions about accident-related injuries could include:
- Injuries sustained.
- Hospitalization requirements.
- Past and future medical treatment.
- Doctors and/or specialists seen.
- Surgery, orthopedic, therapy or rehabilitation requirements.
- How much it hurts then and now.
Don’t minimize your pain and injuries, but don’t exaggerate them either. Courts will ask how your injuries affect other parts of your daily life and about financial losses. More personal questions about your financial standing criminal history, driving record and previous lawsuits pursued and the outcome of these cases may also arise.
Hire a Top Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer
Before you give a deposition, contact a Louisiana personal injury lawyer at Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys. We offer free consultations and won’t charge a fee, unless we win your case. Our office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but we’re available to take your call 24/7 at (504) 345-1111, or use our LiveChat.