I am a board certified lawyer practicing personal injury law in Groton, Connecticut.  I just finished defending a client in a deposition today.   I defend many depositions.  But this one was special, because my client did a great job.  He did a really great job.  He increased the value of his case, in my opinion.   I try to educate my clients that they are very the most important part of their own case.  That is why I wrote my book How to Put Your Best Foot Forward in Your Truck or Car Accident Case in Connecticut.  My client was well prepared for his deposition.  He followed the principles that I outline in my book about how to give a good deposition.   As a result his is better than it was yesterday. 

“Defending” a deposition means that my client is the one who gives his deposition.  The other lawyer asks the question. The other lawyer takes the deposition.  My role is to object to confusing or otherwise improper questions, and to generally make sure my client does not screw anything up.  That is what defending a deposition means.  But generally, during a deposition, my client does all of the hard work they are one the hot seat.  My work is done before my client’s deposition even takes place.  My job is to get my client prepared, and to make them the best client they can be. 

In this particular deposition my client did a great job.   I will now tell you what he did that was so great.  I will also explain how he was able to do such a great job, and what you can do to make sure you do a great job in your deposition.  First, you must understand the basics of the type of injury my client has.  He suffers from a shoulder injury.  He has a tear in one of the ligaments on this shoulder on his dominant side.  This means for a right-hander, he has a right shoulder injury, and for a left-hander, he has a left shoulder injury.  Additionally, his shoulder must be repaired surgically because a tear cannot heal or re-attach itself.  It must be surgically repaired.  He will end up having the shoulder surgery in New London at the Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.  The last important point is that he uses his dominant hand at his job.  He has been able to get by with the help of sympathetic co-workers, but he cannot advance in his job.  He is unable to continue on this path.  The shoulder needs to be repaired. 

So, how was it that my client did such a good job at his deposition for his shoulder injury in Groton, Connecticut?  First, he was well prepared on each of the three main points that apply to any personal injury case:  The laws that applied; the facts of the accident—in this case, a car crash; and finally, his harms and losses.  

Here is how we prepared for this deposition. 

We discussed what a deposition was and what was going to happen at the deposition. 

Next, we discussed the laws that applied.

Next, we discussed the facts of the accident including the issues that I expected the defense lawyer to ask about based on my experience handling side impact four way intersection car crash cases in Connecticut for many years. 

Next, we discussed this harms and losses including the mechanics of injury, the body motions that are affected, the activities that my client can do, and can’t do, and his feelings about all of this stuff. 

I also gave my client my book How to Put Your Best Foot Forward in Your Truck or Car Accident Case in Connecticut as well as my Guide on How to Explain Your Harms and Losses in a Step by Step Logical Way. 

My client was well prepared.

At the deposition, my client did a great job.  He clearly had read my book.  He had a great command of the facts of how the crash happened, the intersection, and what he did to try to avoid the crash.  He also clearly explained the impact, and how his car spun around, and crashed into a poll.  Then he explain the exact mechanics of impact, and how this body went right and then left, and how his shoulder was pushed into the left side of his car while being strained by the stead belt he was wearing. 

Then my client explained his harms and losses.  Here, he was very detailed.  No general statements.  Just detail.  He emphasized the little things that he experienced since his dominant arm was injured.  Things like combing his hair, tying his tie, tying his shoes, and wiping himself.  When he talked about pain he did not say it hurt.  Instead he described it as a screwdriver being twisted inside his body. 

So, the lesson for you or anyone who might have to give a deposition is to first try to anticipate the issues that the defense will try defend the case with.  Next, think about those issues, and don’t just wing it at your deposition.  Try to really think hard about all of the ways that your injury has affected you, and be able to explain them in detail.  Also, it does not hurt to get my book How to Put Your Best Foot Forward in Your Truck or Car Accident Case in Connecticut, and my free Guide How to Explain Your Harms and Losses in a Step by Step Logical Way.  That is how my client did a great job in his deposition about his shoulder injury in his personal injury case in Groton, Connecticut.



Peter J. Bartinik, Jr.
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Civil Trial Attorney, Practicing Law in Connecticut