If you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you will eventually be asked to testify in a deposition taken by opposing counsel. Depositions are part of the discovery process that parties to a lawsuit conduct before trial to learn about the facts, legal theories and claims of the other parties. A deposition typically takes place in a law firm conference room and consists of a witness (you) being asked questions under oath by opposing counsel (i.e. the lawyers for the parties you have sued). Your lawyer will attend the deposition for the purpose of protecting you from unfair, misleading, unclear or irrelevant questions (your lawyer will object to those questions). Your lawyer will also ask you some questions to correct, expand upon or clarify the answers you’ve given to opposing counsel. All of the questions and answers in a deposition are transcribed by a court reporter and the transcript becomes part of the discovery material produced by the parties before trial. So, what do you need to know before testifying at a deposition? Why are depositions taken? Depositions can be used to impeach your credibility at trial so it is important to relay the same facts and give the same answers that you intend to give at the trial in your case. If you change your story at trial, the inconsistencies with your pretrial deposition will be used against you. A deposition is not your opportunity to tell “your story.” You are there to answer the questions asked […]
Car accidents are inherently stressful. After an accident — even a minor one — you’re probably shaken up, you might be injured, and you may be angry at yourself or the other driver (or both). So, what should you do if you’re involved in an accident? Focus on Your Safety You first need to ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers. If your car is movable, drive onto the road’s shoulder and out of the way of moving traffic. If your car is disabled, you and your passengers should exit your vehicle and move away from the road. If you or any passengers are injured, call 911 for an ambulance. If any of the injuries are serious, use your judgment about the safety of moving anyone — it may make sense to remain in the car and wait for first responders. Choose Your Words Carefully What you say to the other driver, the police and your insurance company can be used against you when you file an insurance claim or seek compensation for injuries. Don’t argue with the other driver about who was at fault — let the police and insurance companies sort that out. Try not to apologize to anyone or say that the accident was your fault — just give a neutral, truthful version of facts of the accident to the police and insurance company without admitting that you were careless or negligent. Don’t tell anyone you’re weren’t injured in the accident — injuries can take time […]
Any car, truck or motorcycle accident (even a minor one) is a stressful experience. But once you’ve made sure that no one has been injured and shared some basic information with the other driver, you should do your best to document the accident scene by taking photos either with a camera or even a cell phone. Why Take Photos? Photos will preserve evidence of the crash before anyone has moved the vehicles or cleared the debris (broken glass, broken car parts, etc.) This can help the insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s) determine what happened and who was at fault. If you’ve been injured in the crash, the photos will enable your car accident attorney to reconstruct the facts of the accident in any legal claim and refresh your memory when you need to give testimony about the incident in a deposition, court hearing or trial. Documenting the Scene First, make sure that the date/time tagging function is enabled on your camera. Then, start taking the photos by concentrating on the following: Your vehicle and its damage The other vehicles involved and their damage Vehicle parts and other debris on the ground Skid marks The intersection, parking lot or other location of the accident Traffic lights and signs at the scene Any damage sustained by stationary objects at the scene – guardrails, signs, trees, etc. Any visible injuries sustained by you or other drivers/passengers (but obviously only to the extent they consent to your taking such photos) Weather conditions […]
If you’ve been involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, the insurance policies carried by you and the other driver are two potential sources of compensation for your injuries and vehicle damage. But the insurance companies have financial incentives not to make the claims process easy or fast. Why You Need Insurance Company Cooperation After an accident, you’ll want assistance and cooperation from the insurance companies right away. You may have injuries that require immediate treatment (which means you need money to pay medical bills). You may be losing wages because injuries prevent you from working (which means you need money to pay your normal household expenses). You need to get your car or motorcycle fixed (which means you need help paying mechanics and a body shop). Why Insurance Companies Don’t Want to Cooperate But the insurance adjusters don’t work for you – they work for the insurance companies. And their goal isn’t to quickly provide you with the maximum amount of compensation. The adjuster’s job is to save his insurance company money by: Minimizing the amounts paid to you; and Delaying those payments as long as he can. The easiest way for an insurance company to achieve these two goals is by giving you the runaround. What Does Insurance Company Runaround Look Like? Insurance company runaround can take many forms but the classic signs include: Not answering or returning your phone calls Taking a long time to provide you with basic information or required forms Repeatedly asking for […]
If you have been injured in a car, motorcycle or truck accident, it is important to recognize that insurance companies have become very sophisticated in handling claims and managing accident victims. These companies know that many accident victims are ill-prepared for the financial hardships that can arise when an injury interrupts their income stream.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the United States every year. Over 50,000 of these people die as a result of their injuries. Roughly 80 percent of people who sustain TBIs seek treatment in emergency rooms. The remaining 20 percent might never even realize they’ve been seriously injured. The symptoms of TBIs are varied and not always immediately apparent to the injured party. In some cases they can take days or weeks to appear. That’s why it’s essential for people to seek treatment any time they’ve sustained a head injury, even if it doesn’t seem very serious at the time. It’s also important for people to educate themselves about the signs and symptoms of TBI so that they can recognize them in the event that they or a loved one has a head injury. According to the CDC, TBI symptoms typically fall into one of four categories. Cognitive After sustaining a TBI, you may have difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly. You may also have trouble retaining new information. Many people report a general feeling of mental “sluggishness” when trying to think and reason after sustaining a TBI. Physical Nausea and vomiting soon after a head injury are tell-tale signs of a TBI. Later on, headaches, blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light can manifest as symptoms as well. Dizziness, balance issues and lack of energy are also fairly common physical TBI symptoms. Emotional These symptoms can be […]
A few weeks ago, millions of Americans came together to observe Memorial Day with friends and loved ones. Burgers were grilled, pools were opened and the sacrifices of the brave men and women of the armed forces were commemorated. In addition to being the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day marked another important annual milestone as well – the beginning of the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. Statistically speaking, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the most dangerous time of year for teens to be on the road. During this period, when the weather is nice and schools are closed for the summer, teens tend to spend more time behind the wheel, increasing their risk of getting in an accident. On average, about 1,000 people die every year in accidents involving teenagers during these 100 deadliest days. The Most Dangerous Time of Year for Teen Drivers With this in mind, it’s imperative that parents of teenagers remind them about the additional risks associated with driving this time of year. According to AAA, distracted driving is the most common cause of accidents involving teen drivers. Cell phones, in particular, tend to be especially dangerous distractions for teens behind the wheel. Parents should set clear safety expectations for their teenage drivers, and do their part to practice what they preach as well. If your teenager sees you checking text messages while you drive, they’re more likely to do the same when they get behind the wheel. You can […]