When it comes to a car crash lawsuit, the deposition, where you tell your side of what happened during the accident, is one of the most important parts of winning your case. As the victim of another driver’s negligence, one way to prepare a strong deposition is by working with a top Northern New Jersey car accident attorney. But there is also a lot you can (and should!) do on your own to prepare for the deposition. I’ll tell you more about it below, and let you know how working with a car crash lawyer from Buttafuoco & Associates may help you strengthen your case.
Tip 1: Understand the Discovery Process
The deposition process, where both plaintiff and defendant tell their sides of the story, is part of what is known as the discovery stage of a car accident lawsuit. During discovery, each side will learn of the other’s perspective on the details of the crash, and evidence will be shared from both sides. Your lawyer will help you gather evidence and prepare you for the deposition, but it is extremely important to take this part of the process seriously.
A common mistake that plaintiffs make is when they believe that only the defendant needs to get the deposition right. In fact, making a mistake during the deposition as the plaintiff is the easiest way to jeopardize your case. Even if you were not at fault for the accident, if you make an error, reveal incorrect information, or mention an incriminating detail to the defendant’s lawyer, the defense could place blame for the accident on you.
Tip 2: Review Key Documents Beforehand
Before you arrive for your deposition, you’ll want to review all of the documents related to your case: medical records, police reports, and other documents that can help you remember what happened during and after the accident. During the deposition, you’ll have to answer a wide range of questions about everything from your background and medical history to the specifics of the accident, your injuries, and any treatments you have had. Knowing these details inside and out so you can speak consistently and confidently about them is key.
Before deposition, your attorney will also ask you some questions and submit documentation of your responses. Make sure to carefully review these documents to ensure that your testimony matches up. If certain data–for example, the speed you were traveling at the time of the crash–doesn’t match up with your original answer, the defendant’s attorney could portray you as unreliable or dishonest by the defendant’s attorney. As you can imagine, this is why it is key to have a car accident lawyer on your team.
Tip 3. Keep Quiet During Deposition
Depositions are intimidating and nerve wracking, but a good Northern New Jersey car accident lawyer will help you get prepared for even the most difficult parts of the deposition. The reality, however, is that even with the utmost preparation, it is impossible to know how you will respond to an aggressive lawyer drilling you with hours of questions while trying to get you to slip up.
The process is grueling to say the least, but one way to stay calm is to remember that you need only answer the question, not provide any extra information. The defendant’s attorney will try to get as much information about the accident and your injuries from you as they can. While your impulse may be to tell your side of the story, if you can avoid this and say as little as necessary, you’ll prevent exhaustion and help your case. As you respond to the defense lawyer’s questions, answer honestly but never provide more information than you are asked for. Don’t add extra details or make statements that go beyond the scope of the questions.
Tip 4: Know How to Respond to Tough Questions
You will always encounter unexpected, and sometimes seemingly random, questions during a deposition. One common occurrence is being asked a question that you don’t know the answer to. Remember that if this happens, it’s okay to say that you are unsure rather than speculating.
Another common scenario is being asked unexpected questions about your medical history. One of the most common tactics of car accident defense attorneys is arguing that injuries you sustained in the accident existed beforehand. Even if these questions seem unrelated, answer honestly but don’t give away too much information. If your attorney believes a question is unfair, they will object.
Tip 5: Stay Calm
While participating in a deposition can be incredibly stressful, try to stay calm and avoid outbursts, as this can damage your case going forward. The defendant’s lawyer will most certainly be observing your character and behavior, looking for ways to disarm you if the case goes to trial. If, for example, the defendant’s lawyer notices that you have a temper, you can be certain that they will try to exploit this later on. Likewise, juries are more likely to rule in favor of likable plaintiffs, so try to maintain a friendly demeanor throughout.
When to Work with a Northern New Jersey Car Accident Attorney
No matter what kind of accident you have been in, whether a drunk driving accident, a distracted driving accident, a hit and run, or something else, the car accident lawyers serving Northern New Jersey at Buttafuoco & Associates can help. We have been fighting for plaintiffs’ rights in car accident cases for over 35 years, and will fight for yours as well.
For a free consultation on your case, get in touch with us at 1-800-NOW-HURT.