Giving Testimony in Your Case
If you’ve filed a personal injury lawsuit because of an accident or injury against another party, you may be required to testify about your claim. The testimony you may give will most likely be in the form of a deposition and then later, should your case go to trial, once again during the proceedings. Attorneys representing the defendant or insurance company handling your claim may be entitled to take your deposition.
A deposition is a meeting where you give sworn testimony about your case. A lawyer for the insurance company will ask you questions about your background, the accident, prior injuries, and the injuries you sustained in the accident. Your deposition is held in your lawyer’s office, so it may seem informal. However, your testimony is as binding on you as if you were testifying in a courtroom in front of a judge and jury.
Your deposition is often the first opportunity the insurance company has to see you face-to-face and make an assessment about whether you will make a good impression as a witness. It’s important to come across as someone who is honest and forthright. You should answer each question honestly, but be wary of questions that are designed to trip you up.
Before your deposition, your lawyer will help you prepare. He or she should go over the ground rules for giving testimony and role-play with you, asking hypothetical questions and listening to your answers so you will be ready for and feel comfortable during your deposition.
Many civil cases settle after the plaintiff gives deposition testimony. The defense sees that the plaintiff is a credible witness who will make a good impression in court, and they don’t want to risk the chance that a jury will sympathize with the plaintiff and award a large verdict or judgement.