Under the rules of practice in this state,
each side in a lawsuit has the right to take your sworn testimony, or
deposition, before trial. This testimony is recorded in shorthand, video taped
or tape-recorded and is transcribed for future use in the lawsuit. Present in
the deposition will be your lawyer as well as the person recording your
testimony and the opposing attorney, who will ask the questions. Other people,
such as insurance company representatives or the other parties to the lawsuit,
may also be present if they wish. The deposition will be taken either in a
lawyer's office or at some other designated place.
It is difficult to predict how long the
deposition will take, but it generally lasts from one to two hours. The
deposition will usually cover the following areas, depending upon the nature of
Your personal history and background,
including your education, training, skills, job experience, medical history and
any prior litigation in which you have been involved;
The facts of the case;
The damages and injuries and how they
were calculated, including any out-of-pocket expenses paid; and
The medical treatment or care you have
received, the complaints you now have, your ability to take part in daily
activities, the effect of your injuries on your work and hobbies, and a
complete history of illnesses and injuries you have suffered before and after
the date of the accident.
Your deposition, properly given, will
assist everybody a great deal in handling your case, either in reaching a
settlement or at trial. How you act at the deposition: your attitude,
appearance and the truthfulness of your answers, can help or hurt you.
Remember that opposing counsel will
usually see you for the first time at the deposition. It is important that you
impress the other side's attorney with how good a witness you will be.