For over fifteen years I was an insurance defense attorney. My job was to minimize the amount of money plaintiffs received for their injury claims. Over the years, I deposed well over one thousand plaintiffs from across the state of New Jersey, from Vineland to Vernon. In my “Confessions of a Former Defense Attorney” series, I share tips, tricks, and pitfalls that can spoil a personal injury claim.
Exaggerate, please! There are few things more helpful to a defense attorney than a plaintiff who can be easily portrayed as exaggerating. Among the many questions asked during the deposition of a personal injury plaintiff is some variation of the following:
Q:“Is there anything you could do before the accident, that you can no longer do at all because of the accident?”
The question usually comes on the back end of an hour and a half of other questions. A tired witness may not comprehend the question fully, or not appreciate that the answer will be taken literally, and, if possible, used against them. For example, a plaintiff with orthopedic injuries will often testify that he or she “can no longer lift anything” because of injuries sustained in the accident. When taken literally, this implies that the plaintiff cannot pick up a piece of paper off the floor. After a witness answers this question in a manner that can be portrayed as an exaggeration, a crafty defense attorney moves onto another topic, leaving the harmful testimony alone for use later at trial. The lesson here? Your deposition is a critical step in the litigation process, and if the defendant’s attorney can portray you as an exaggerator, it will make the insurance company very happy.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only.
Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.