A deposition in a personal injury case is one of the tools that lawyers use to discover information about the case and your claims. . A deposition is conducted in a conference room and is attended by the lawyers, the person being deposed, a court reporter, sometimes a videographer, and any of the parties who chose to attend. The stenographer will serve in the role of recorder or record keeper, and the person to be deposed will be placed under oath asked questions. The side that requested or noticed the deposition will go first, followed by questioning by the other lawyers. The lawyers will go back and forth until everyone has asked all of their questions. Now I just mentioned that the deponent, the person being deposed, will be placed under oath by which they will swear or affirm to tell the truth. The overarching rule that governs their conduct at a deposition is: Tell the Truth. If you don’t know an answer to a question, say you don’t know. Don’t guess if you don’t know the answer.

Is It Mandatory for People To Take a Deposition?

If your deposition has been noticed, then you must submit to the deposition; it is mandatory, unless there are extraordinary circumstances that might justify some sort of protective order from the court. Generally speaking, if you are a party to the case, you must submit to a deposition if you are requested to do so. Someone who is not a party can be compelled to attend a deposition if subpoenaed to do so.

Are Depositions Required in All Cases?

Depositions are not required in all cases. There are some cases where the deposition of a party may not be pursued because liability is not contested or because the necessary information has been provided in written discovery or through the production of documents. Because we represent only plaintiffs at Casper & de Toledo and because insurance companies and corporations rarely acknowledge responsibility for the harms they cause early in cases, we rarely handle a case where we do not request a deposition of the defendant or witnesses.

Are Depositions Typically Videotaped?

Under the rules, depositions are not routinely or automatically videotaped, but in Connecticut, if one party wants to videotape the deposition, that party has the absolute right to videotape the deposition. The right to videotape any deposition under Connecticut Rules of Practice was an idea that I originated several years ago through the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association. The idea was submitted to and approved by the Rules Committee of the Judicial Department and then adopted as an amendment to the Rules of Practice.

Is Videotaping a Deposition Preferable in a Personal Injury Claim?

There may or may not be an advantage to videotaping. It depends on how the case is going to be processed and depends on individual preferences. For example, if there is concern for the health or the life expectancy of a party or witness, it may be important to videotape that deposition. If there is reason to believe that opposing counsel is going to misbehave at the deposition, there may be reason to videotape the deposition. If a lawyer anticipates use of video during trial preparation or during trial to impeach an adverse witness or to prepare the witness for testifying at trial, that might be a reason to videotape the deposition.

Can Someone Refuse To Participate in a Videotaped Deposition?

Short answer: No. As I already stated, the rule in the Connecticut State Court is that if one party wants to videotape that deposition that party has the right to insist upon it.

What Are Some Questions That One Might Expect at a Deposition?

The questions will certainly vary depending upon the nature of the claim. If we are talking about a personal injury claim, there are a host of biographical questions that may or may not be pursued. For example, I will tell my clients that anything and everything that has occurred during their lifetime with the exception of particularly private information that isn’t directly pertinent to the case should be considered fair game, from where did you live, what schools did you attend, who are the members of your family, who do you live with to what are the different jobs that you have had in your life so far. Some of your biographical information is more important than other information, but as a general rule, if you’re asked a question, you need to answer it to the best of your ability. Questions will certainly be asked about your claim, as well as your physical and emotional injuries. There will be questions about any prior injuries, prior emotional or psychiatric problems, and certainly any treatments related to those areas. You will definitely be asked questions about the events leading up to the traumatic event and about your recollections during and following the incident, including any interactions with others.

You should be prepared for questions about the ways that your injuries have impacted your income, medical expenses, and about hobbies, recreation, different types of treatment that you have received and, if married, questions about your marital relationship. Personal injury claims in Connecticut are often accompanied by a loss of a consortium claim. That claim is derivative of the claim of the party who sustained the primary injury. The uninjured spouse of an injured person can make this claim. A loss of consortium claim is for damages suffered by the non-injured spouse and can include anything and everything from the assumption of the injured spouse’s functions and roles within and outside the household, as well as questions about lost or diminished intimacy. In some circumstances, the minor children of a severely injured parent can make a claim for loss of parental consortium. Such a claim must be supported by evidence that shows the deprivation that the child has suffered from harm to a parent. In a deposition of the injured party or the spouse, you should be prepared to answer questions about your spouse’s injuries, the damages you sustained as a result of your spouse’s injuries, and the damages that your child has suffered as a result of your spouse’s injuries.

For more information on Personal Injury Depositions in Connecticut, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (203) 325-8600 today.