What Will the Insurance Company Ask Me at My Deposition in a Riverview Car Accident Lawsuit?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and have been unable to settle your claim with the insurance company, you have three options available to you. They are 1) take the insurance company’s highest offer and settle; 2) drop your claim and take nothing (not recommended if an offer has been made); or 3) file a lawsuit. Depending on the facts of your claim and your injury, a lawsuit may be the right option for you (Note: not every claim is well-suited for a lawsuit).
When you file a lawsuit in a personal injury case, your life becomes an open book. This is because the insurance company wants to find whatever it can to blame your injury and complaints on other than the accident for which they are the insurer. If the insurance company succeeds in doing this, then it will not have to pay your claim.
What is a Deposition?
One way an insurance company is able to learn all about you is by taking your deposition. A deposition is part of what is known as the “discovery” phase of a lawsuit. The discovery phase is the early part of a lawsuit where the parties are able to discover and learn all of the facts about the case and document everything the other side might know.
A deposition usually takes place in a conference room either at a court reporter’s office or at an attorney’s office. The opposing attorney (who, in a Florida car accident case, is hired by the insurance company) will be there as will a court reporter. Your Riverview personal injury attorney will also be present to log all appropriate objections on your behalf. The deposition is a question and answer session in which the opposing attorney will ask you questions about yourself and your claim. A deposition is your sworn answers to these questions. The sworn testimony you provide will be treated the same as if you testified live in court in front of a jury.
What Topics Will Be Covered During My Deposition?
Most insurance attorneys defending personal injury lawsuits will ask questions that pertain to the following areas (while these are the primary areas of inquiry in most depositions of a Plaintiff in a personal injury case, this is not an exhaustive list of everything that will/could be covered):
Your Background: The insurance attorney will seek background information from you such as your residence, marital, educational, employment, and criminal history. If you are seeking to recover for lost wages, all of your wage information and history will be sought.
Prior Accident History: The attorney will want to know all prior accidents that you have been involved in, whether they be car accidents, slip and falls, etc. The attorney will also want to know whether you sustained any injuries in any prior accidents and, if so, where you sought medical treatment.
Prior Medical History: This is a very important area of inquiry for the defense in a personal injury lawsuit. One of the goals of an insurance attorney in a personal injury case is to identify the medical providers you have seen before the accident happened. This is so that they can subpoena those providers to obtain your medical records to see if you have ever complained of, or sought treatment for similar injuries or symptoms before. If you have, the insurance company will argue that your injury is pre-existing and not caused by the accident at issue.
The Accident: Be prepared to discuss all of the facts surrounding how the accident happened, including your activities on the day of the accident prior to its occurrence. Estimates as to time, speed, and distance may be asked to establish such things as your location when you first saw the other vehicle, the speed at which you were driving, etc. If liability is an issue, the insurance attorney will be looking for information to support an argument that you either caused the accident or that you were partially at fault for its occurrence.
Post-Accident Activities: You will be asked what you did after the accident happened. Did you call the police? Did you deny an injury? Did you decline medical treatment? Did you drive away from the scene? These types of questions are asked because insurance companies believe, for example, that if you decline medical treatment at the scene or transport to a hospital, that you could not have been seriously injured in the crash.
Post-Accident Medical Treatment: Your post-accident medical treatment will be thoroughly discussed as it is a basis for your claim. Be prepared to, at the least, testify as to a general chronology of your treatment. Insurance attorneys ask a lot of questions about your post-accident medical treatment to see if your testimony at all conflicts with what your doctors state in their records. In addition, the insurance attorney is also trying to verify all of the medical providers that you have treated with, to ensure that they have all records.
How Your Injuries Have Affected Your Life: Questions surrounding this topic are asked because the answers will bear on your claim for non-economic damages, which include such things as pain and suffering, disability, inconvenience, mental and emotional pain and suffering, etc. These are the human damages in your case.
3 Tips for Testifying at Your Deposition?
There are a number of things you need to be aware of prior to testifying at a deposition in your lawsuit. Your Riverview personal injury attorney will go over all of these things with you when you are preparing to testify. However, three important tips to remember are:
Be Honest: Your personal injury attorney can deal with bad facts much easier than he/she can deal with a client who has not been completely truthful. In some situations, the lack of honesty can result in a dismissal of your lawsuit.
Don’t Exaggerate: Remember, the insurance attorney should have a complete copy of your medical records before he/she deposes you. In those records, your doctor will have noted the information you have told him/her about your physical condition, your activities, etc. If your testimony is not, for the most part, consistent with the records, the insurance attorney will focus on this in an attempt to discredit you.
Listen Carefully: If very specific questions are asked about particular activities you may engage in, there is a good chance that the insurance company has conducted surveillance on you before the deposition. Insurance attorneys love to watch surveillance video and then ask questions about what they saw, without disclosing the fact that they have surveillance. If your testimony conflicts with what is shown in the surveillance video, this can be very damaging to your case.
If you have questions about your Florida accident case, you can download our Free Reports:
5 Medical Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Personal Injury Case
which are available on our website, or you can click the link provided. You can also contact us at (813)419-3866 to talk directly to a Riverview personal injury attorney now.