Deposition Questions for a Personal Injury Case
Personal injury law covers a wide range of matters, but they generally all boil down to proving (or disproving) four elements: Duty, breach, causation, and injury. Personal injury plaintiffs often rely on demonstrating negligence to show duty and breach, tie that negligence to the underlying incident, and work to prove that the event actually harmed the plaintiff. The ability to prove or disprove these elements rests in large part on the testimony of the parties involved, witnesses to the event, and relevant experts. Below, we discuss some of the key areas of questioning any personal injury attorney is likely to pursue in a personal injury matter. Contact our talented and professional Phoenix court reporters for deposition services throughout the state of Arizona.
Any deposition will begin with identifying the individual being deposed and establishing basic details about that person. Background questions typically cover topics such as:
● Name, address, and other identifying information
● Marital status
● Employment, including current work and employment history
● Living situation
● Family background, including family medical background
● Medical history (preexisting injuries, every medical visit over the past two years, etc.)
● Criminal background
● Litigation history
Questions About the Accident
For simplicity, we will focus on a very common type of personal injury case: a car accident. The same principles apply to slip and falls, medical malpractice, defective products, and other personal injury matters, although with different focuses depending on the nature of the incident and injury.
In a car accident case, the deposition of the parties involved will be geared toward establishing the circumstances of the accident, the surrounding area, and the behavior of each party. Topics and questions are likely to include:
● The surrounding area (intersection, crosswalk, traffic control devices, etc.)
● Time of day, availability of light, any hazards such as rain, snow, or fog
● Conduct of each party in the day leading up to the accident
● Conduct of each party in the minutes prior to the accident, in detail (speed, placement of hands on the wheel, time spent checking mirrors, texting, discussions with passengers, etc.)
● Conduct of each party just before the accident and during the accident
● Conduct of other individuals involved or nearby the accident
● Presence of other danger factors such as animals, children, or road hazards
● Conduct after the accident (calling the authorities and emergency responders, exchanging insurance and contact information, receiving emergency or delayed medical care)
● Presence of witnesses
● Applicable traffic safety laws and compliance with those laws
Depositions are likely to go into excruciating detail concerning the factors leading up to and surrounding the accident.
Questions About Injuries and Medical Care
Demonstrating the existence and extent of injuries is just as important, if not more important, than establishing the precise details of the accident. Depositions of the plaintiff should cover topics including, but not limited to:
● Preexisting health conditions
● Details about every doctor that has treated the plaintiff since the accident
● Details about all treatments received and anticipated future treatments
● Total medical costs expended and anticipated future costs
● Pain and suffering
● Functional limitations, including disability
● Loss of limb, organ, or bodily function
● Alterations to lifestyle as a result of the injury, including an inability to engage in leisure activities, relationships with romantic partners and family members, etc.
● Limitations on the capacity to work
● Changes to employment
● Medical diagnoses and prognoses
These are just a few of the topics that should be covered in a personal injury deposition. Particularly when deposing the plaintiff and defendant, personal injuries should go into extreme detail to get a picture-perfect representation of what occurred from the perspective of each party.
If you need high-quality, professional, and detail-oriented court reporting services in Arizona, contact the Phoenix offices of Ottmar & Associates at 602-485-1488.