A personal injury claim is most often resolved through settlement negotiations with the insurance company of the at-fault party. The insurance company is provided with a demand letter outlining the claimant’s damages, such as the injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other harm incurred due to the accident, and is provided with an offer amount that would properly compensate the victim. Settlement negotiations often ensue after the insurance company declines the initial settlement offer included in the demand letter and, usually, a mutually acceptable settlement amount is reached afterwards. Sometimes, however, no reasonable settlement offer can be reached with an insurance company. The company will refuse to pay out on an amount the claimant supports as fair with evidence such as medical records and bills. When this happens, a lawsuit may be filed and trial preparation will proceed as discovery begins.
The discovery process is the fact-finding period before trial. Both sides will have a number of different opportunities to gather as much information about the case as possible. One prominent part of discovery includes depositions. As the plaintiff, the injured party in the lawsuit, you will be deposed by opposing counsel. This can be an intimidating prospect, despite assurances that your attorney will be by your side throughout the deposition. To help relieve any lingering anxieties and help ensure that your deposition is as smooth and productive as possible, here are some tips on how to prepare for it.
Preparing to be Deposed in Your Personal Injury Case
At your deposition, you will likely be questioned extensively on the accident. There will be a line of questioning relating to the actual events and circumstances surrounding the accident. There will be a line of questioning relating to your injuries and medical treatment relating to those injuries. There will be seemingly endless questions about how the accident and resulting injuries have impacted your life. You should be prepared to answer all of these questions and do so in a way that is concise and direct. Only answer the question posed to you and avoid wandering off onto tangential topics.
Before the deposition, get yourself in the right headspace. How you present yourself at the deposition can actually have a big impact on the outcome of the case. This is in no small part due to the fact that opposing counsel will be sizing you up for how effective you would be as a witness at trial. Those plaintiffs that are polite and cooperative tend to be more reliable witnesses and more sympathetic. This, in turn, means that they are likely to be more successful at trial and be awarded larger damage awards. Counsel for insurance companies knows this. In fact, you may be offered a settlement offer in the wake of a successful deposition that negates the need to proceed with the trial.
In line with having the right attitude for the deposition, be prepared to dress for the occasion. Remember, how you present yourself at the deposition is important and your dress contributes to this. Wear neat and even professional attire. Business casual attire at a minimum is a good rule of thumb.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
The dedicated personal injury team at Cooper Schall & Levy will prepare you for the road ahead. We will be by your side every step of the way as we fight for your right to be properly compensated for the harm you have suffered. Contact us today.