A deposition is a question-and-answer session in which a witness gives testimony under oath in response to questions from an attorney. In a car accident case, the witness may be one of the drivers involved in the crash, a passenger, or an eyewitness to the accident.
Depositions are a key part of the information-gathering discovery phase in any car accident case. Typically, car accident deposition questions cover three subjects: your personal background, how the accident happened, and (if you're the plaintiff) the nature and extent of your car accident injuries and the course of your medical treatment. Let's look at each of these areas in more detail.
Typical car accident deposition questions about your personal background include:
1. Name, address, telephone number, date of birth.
2. Your residential addresses for the past 10 years or so.
3. Your educational background:
4. Your family background:
5. Your health and medical background:
6. Employment background:
7. Criminal background:
8. Injury/civil claims background:
Typical car accident deposition questions on how the accident happened include:
1. Time, date, day of week, and location of the traffic accident.
2. Where were you coming from and where were you headed?
3. What were the weather conditions?
4. What were the traffic conditions?
5. Were there any traffic control devices, such as traffic lights, stop signs, other signage, lane markings, etc. involved?
6. Exactly what each driver did and when. Be prepared for specific questions about times and distances. For example:
Tip: If you don't know the answers to these (or any) questions, don't guess.
7. Did you speak to the other driver after the accident and, if so, what did each of you say? Did either of you admit responsibility for causing the accident? (Remember, be careful what you say at the scene of a car accident.)
8. What happened to your body inside the vehicle when the collision occurred? Did any part of your body hit any part of the car?
9. What happened to your car after it was hit?
10. What physical damage did each car have? Was your car repaired? How much did the repairs cost?
11. Who were the witnesses to the accident? Who came to the accident scene?
12. Do you have any photos or diagrams that show the accident scene? (You may be asked to draw a (non-scale) diagram of the accident scene showing how the accident happened.)
13. Did you drink any alcohol during the 24 hours before the accident?
14. Do you know of any reports generated in connection with the accident? (such as a police report)
Typical car accident deposition questions related to your injuries and treatment include:
1. What injuries do you claim were caused by this accident?
2. Did you have any health conditions before the accident that you contend were aggravated (made worse) by the accident?
3. What doctors and other health care providers have you seen for treatment of your injuries?
4. What symptoms did you have at the scene of the accident? Did you get out of your car and walk around at the scene?
5. When did you first get medical care after the car accident? What did you tell the doctor about your symptoms at that first visit?
6. What were your symptoms over time? Did your symptoms any get better? Which symptoms and when?
7. If there were any gaps in your medical care (periods of several weeks or more that you did not get any treatment), why did you not get treatment?
8. What symptoms, if any, do you still have that you attribute to this accident?
9. How much have you incurred in medical bills so far?
10. Have you missed any time from work as a result of this accident? How much? When? What amount of lost income are you claiming?
11. Do you claim that you will miss work or lose income in the future as a result of this accident? If so, explain.
12. How have your injuries affected your day-to-day activities?
13. How has your injury affected your personal relationships, i.e. your marriage? Loss or reduction of sex? Loss of enjoyment of other activities together? Loss of vacations? Loss of other opportunities?