How to Prepare a Client for a N.J.Car Accident Deposition
What is a Depostion?Take the time to explain to your client a deposition is a question and answer session that takes place in the presence of the defendant and his lawyer. A court reporter will be in the room to take down everything that is said. A transcript of the testimony will be prepared, and can be used during discovery or at trial. Testimony is under oath.
I suggest to go over the instructions opposing counsel will place on the record in the beginning of the deposition, so there are no surprises
Current and prior residences, education, and employment backgroundThis part seems so easy, but...Many clients frequently change their residences. I suggest going over the past 10 years with your client so these "simple" questions are answered with confidence.
Remind your client to memorize her years of high school, county college, 4-year college, or trade school graduation.
It is important to review your client's employment history for the past 10 years, with your client. Your client should know: Names, addresses, job duties, how much, if any, physical activities were performed.
You may wish to make sure your client's current employment duties do not conflict with present complaints, and permanent disability claimed from the car accident
Prior accidentsThis is a killer, if you don't make sure you have all the information about prior and subsequent accidents BEFORE the deposition. Clients may not be forthcoming about this subject, so dig, dig, and dig again.
Medical treatmentYou'd love your client to comfortably and confidently testify about her medical treatment. He should know why massage, ultrasound, and other therapy modalities were administered. Answers, such as, "I was hooked up to a machine, and don't know why" significantly hurt the value of the case.
Many plaintiffs testify that 150 years of chiropractic adjustment didn't help. So, why did they continue with the treatment? Don't let this happen to you.
Pain, suffering and permancyYour client has been a super star until she is asked the end game question. Does anything still bother you? The demeanor of the defense lawyer is usually dismissive, inpatient, or suggestive that a long answer is not necessary.
Please instill in your client this is the most important question in the deposition. He is center stage, and stepping up to the podium. All eyes are on him.
He should take his time, go over every significant complaint, and explain how it limits his present activities. Alert her that defense counsel will ask about the frequency she participated in the activity PRIOR to the accident.
If your client testifies he can no longer play basketball, it would be sad if the last time he played was 30 years prior to the accident, wouldn't it?
Good luck. Be there for your client and prepare her for his day in the spotlight.