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What Is A Deposition In An Injury Lawsuit?

I focus on achieving favorable results with dedication & hard-work.- Griffin O'Hanlon

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

What Is A Deposition In An Injury Lawsuit?

As a Virginia personal injury lawyer, I am sometimes asked what is a deposition in an injury lawsuit?

A deposition under the Rules of Civil Procedure of the Virginia Supreme Court is a session where the opposing attorney gets to ask the person who got hurt questions under oath about your case.

This is a key part of the discovery process before trial.  Not all cases of personal injury or automobile accidents end up going to court.  Many if not most are settled before suit has to be filed.  So depositions don't occur in every case but only those where the injured person and their lawyer together decide that the case is appropriate to go into suit in a Virginia Circuit Court.

The key to a successful deposition of the claimant in a personal injury case is preparation.  The lawyer that you hired should take the time to explain to you what the issues are in the case and to go over the facts to make sure there are no misunderstandings about what happened in the accident and what injuries you suffer.

Defining Deposition In An Injury Lawsuit?

Norfolk injury lawyer John Cooper

Normally, I will send the client a set of materials including medical records, police reports and other information like pictures of the scene so that they have some time to get ready for the deposition on their own.

Preparation is Key to a Deposition in an Injury Lawsuit

Then I will sit down with the client often for over an hour to make sure that there are no surprises at the deposition.  Normally I go over every question that I anticipate the insurance defense lawyer is going to ask so that there are almost no issues that come up for the first time in the deposition.

This gives me and my client a feeling of comfort that they know what the major truths are in their case and they know how to respond honestly and correctly.

The deposition, though, is a difficult process for the client.  It's an opportunity for the insurance company's lawyer to ask lots of questions including ones that are irrelevant to the case.

Unfortunately, there's no judge at a deposition as it takes place in a lawyer's office typically.  So there's no person to tell the insurance defense lawyer to move along or to stop wasting time on unimportant facts.  This means a deposition in an injury lawsuit can be time-consuming.

The deposition, though, is a critical moment as far as potential settlement of the case.  What we want after a successful deposition of the plaintiff is for the insurance defense lawyer to write a letter back to their bosses and the decision makers at the insurance carrier saying that my client was a pleasant person who the jury is going to like and the jury is going to believe.

The benefit of having an experienced personal injury attorney is that they will have sat through hundreds of such depositions during their career.  Having practiced for almost three decades, I have been and prepared for more than my share of depositions.  The more experience your lawyer has and the more specialized they are in personal injury law gives them a better chance to help make sure that the deposition goes smoothly.

John Cooper is a founding partner of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. Read more about him here and contact him at (757) 455-0077.

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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