Connecticut Personal Injury Mediation

Connecticut Personal Injury Deposition

A Connecticut Personal Injury deposition is really important.

So you’ve been hurt because someone didn’t follow safety rules. And then the insurance company made you lowball offers forcing you to file suit in order to be treated fairly. Now you are in the litigation process. And they want to take your deposition. This post explains some of the basics of personal injury depositions. It is by no means comprehensive.

Connecticut Personal Injury Mediation
Connecticut Personal Injury Depositions

Connecticut personal injury depositions are critical in both the prosecution and defense of Connecticut personal injury cases. Connecticut personal injury cases include: dog bites, car accidents, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, and premises cases.

What is a Connecticut personal injury deposition?

A deposition is your opportunity to ask the other party questions under oath in real time. A deposition is taken in front of a court reporter who swears in the witness and transcribes everything said at the deposition. After the deposition, the court reporter will give you the opportunity to purchase the deposition transcript, which you can then use in Court as an exhibit.

How long does a Connecticut personal injury deposition take?

This depends on a lot of factors. Generally, depositions of our clients are about 90 minutes. In more complicated cases depositions can last several hours. Good defense attorneys know what to ask, how to ask it, and how to avoid unnecessary questioning.

What does a Connecticut personal injury deposition cost?

The cost of a deposition is directly dependent on the court reporting company used because each company charges different rates. Our lawyers handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee – meaning they are not paid hourly for their time in a deposition. Generally court reporter fees and transcripts run anywhere from $400 to $1000 depending on the length of the deposition.

How Are Connecticut Personal Injury Depositions Scheduled?

Scheduling a deposition requires sending the other party a Notice of Deposition, detailing the place, time and date of the deposition. The best practice is to reach out to the opposing counsel and the court reporter to inquire about availability prior to preparing the Notice of Deposition. That way, scheduling issues if a particular date or time does not work for everyone.

Can They Ask Me To Bring Documents To The Connecticut Personal Injury Deposition?

Yes can be required to bring certain documents to the deposition if you are served with a subpoena duces tecum listing the desired documents and attaching it to the Notice of Deposition. In a Connecticut personal injury case, it is rare for a plaintiff to have to bring documents to a deposition – as all documents get turned over pursuant to standard discovery.

What Kinds of Questions Can I Be Asked During a Deposition?

Generally defense counsel asks questions about the general background of the plaintiff – things like work and school history; prior medical injuries; how the accident that gave rise to the lawsuit happened; and treatment history. Defense counsel can ask any question so long as it doesn’t infringe on attorney-client privilege and is reasonably likely to lead to admissible evidence in court.

Can a Deposition Help Settle My Case?

Yes. Cases often settle after a deposition. Keep in mind that when you make a claim the insurance company has no idea who you are or how you will present to a jury or a judge. We know that one of the factors juries take into account is who the plaintiff is. This is the insurance company’s opportunity to meet you. After a good deposition, the insurance company may realize their best option is to pay you.

Why Do Defendants Take Depositions In A Connecticut Personal Injury Case? 

In addition to wanting to meet you. Defense attorneys are trying to do the following:

Discovery: Depositions are a great way to figure out what happened. For example, after any question you can ask, “Do you have any proof of that?” If they answer, “yes,” then you can follow up with questions that will allow you to track down the proof. On the other hand, if they answer “no,” then you know that particular issue will boil down to the witness’s credibility. Furthermore, if the witness attempts to produce proof at a later date, you may have grounds to exclude the proof from evidence.

Locking Down Facts/Positions: Because a deposition is taken under oath, it is a great opportunity to lock down the other party’s positions or version of facts for particular issues.

Cross-Examination: At trial, the general rule is that you do not want to ask a hostile (non-friendly) witness a question you do not already know the answer to. Taking the other party’s deposition allows you to ask the more open-ended questions you might typically avoid at trial because you don’t know the answer.  Come trial, a lawyer knows the answer and can use the answer in cross examination.

Where Does A Connecticut Personal Injury Deposition Take Place?

It takes place either at your lawyer’s office, the office of the defense lawyer or a neutral office such as that of a court reporter. Deponents aren’t forced to travel more than 30 miles from their residence to be deposed. But prior to the deposition the parties usually reach an agreement on location.

Will My Connecticut Personal Injury Deposition Be Videotaped?

Maybe. Depositions can be videotaped and we regularly do. But in order to do so there must be written notice of the intent to video tape. So you’ll know in advance of the deposition.

In conclusion, your lawyer should prepare you for the ins and outs of the deposition in your case. Witness preparation is extremely important. It is vital that you walk into the deposition feeling confident. It is one of the most critical parts of your case. It may be your only chance to tell your story.

Ryan McKeen is a trial attorney at Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC in Glastonbury, Connecticut. In 2016, he was honored by the CT Personal Injury Hall of Fame for securing one of the highest settlements in the state. He is a New Leader in the Law. ABA 100. Avvo 10. 40 under 40 for Hartford Business Journal. He has been quoted in Time Magazine, the New York Times, Hartford Courant, Wall Street Journal Law Blog and the Hartford Business Journal. He focuses his practice on Connecticut Personal Injury law. He loves what he does. Contact him ryan@cttrialfirm.com or 860 471 8333