Depositions in Miami Car Accident Claims: What You Need to Know

joakim-honkasalo-587350-unsplash-copy-300x223If you are pursuing your legal remedies as the victim of a motor vehicle crash, it is likely that the responsible driver’s insurance company will request that you appear for a deposition. Under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, it is each party’s right to depose the other in connection with litigation. Plus, depositions are a common strategy for the narrowing legal issues involved when you are trying to work out a settlement. 

However, beyond the basics, there is not much information on the point of depositions and what to expect. Your Miami car accidents attorney will provide guidance and represent you during the proceedings, but a background on depositions in auto crash claims may also be helpful.

Overview of Deposition Proceedings

A deposition is a question-and-answer session where the opposing party’s lawyer will interview you regarding the details of the car accident; other individuals that will be present are your attorney and a court reporter. The point is to narrow down factual issues for potential settlement or trial. Depositions are somewhat formal, so professional attire and manners are essential. However, the proceeding usually takes place at a law office – not a courtroom.

Note that you will be sworn in by the court reporter, so it is important that you are truthful when questioning begins.

Topics Covered in Car Accident Depositions

In an auto collision claim, your deposition will cover two main topics that are within your knowledge:

  • Your version of the causes and factors that contributed to the accident, which is the basis for determining who was at fault; and,
  • Your injuries, treatment, ongoing care, and limitations. You will not be asked questions that require high level medical knowledge, which are more appropriate for a health care professional.

Tips for Responding to Deposition Questions

Initially, you should make sure that you only provide oral answers to questioning. The attorney conducting the deposition will likely mention at the beginning that you cannot respond by shaking your head, nodding, or shrugging. The court reporter can only record the words that you speak. In addition:

  • Only respond to questions with information that is personally known to you. Do not speculate, take a guess, or provide an answer based upon a hunch. Simply say “I do not know.”
  • When presented with a closed-ended question, state a Yes or No answer. You do not need to provide more detail unless specifically requested.
  • Listen carefully and allow yourself time to process a question before responding.
  • Always respond succinctly, and avoid “uh-huh” or “nah.”
  • If you do not understand or are confused by a question, request that the lawyer clarify.
  • Opposing counsel may ask you questions regarding a document. Even if you have seen it before, make sure you take enough time to thoroughly review.

Your Miami Auto Accident Lawyer can Provide Additional Deposition Assistance

For more information on what to expect at your deposition in a car crash claim, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can set up a no-cost consultation at any of our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach. Our attorneys will be on your side to help you prepare for the deposition, and you can count on our team to protect your interests throughout the proceedings.