A Guide To Preparing For A Deposition

If you are a participant in a personal injury law suit many times you will be asked to give a deposition to document your testimony in the matter. Although it may sound intimidating, a deposition is your opportunity to tell your side of the story and demonstrate to the defendant and the insurance company that your claim deserves just compensation. Below we will discuss the basics of a deposition and how to best represent yourself during the process.

What Is A Deposition

A deposition is a formal legal process in which your testimony in a matter will be taken through the asking and answering of questions. During the deposition you are under oath and all the information you provide will be recorded in a written format that can be used in a later court proceeding. Normally, the deposition takes place in a conference room in either your attorney or the defense attorney’s office, however, due to Covid-19 many depositions are taking place over video conference software to keep all parties safe.

Who Is There and How Long Will It Take?

Once you are at the deposition you will notice at least two additional people in the room besides yourself and your attorney. These people are typically the defendant’s attorney who is there on behalf of the insurance company as well as the court reporter who transcribes everything that is said on the record during the deposition. There is no set amount of time for a deposition to take place, but the average deposition will take a couple of hours.

What Types of Questions Will Be Asked?

Depositions cover a wide range of information and your attorney will prepare you for these questions prior to the actual event; however, below are the most common areas covered:

  • Background Information (Name, Address, Education)
  • Facts of the Accident (How & Where it Occurred, Who Was Involved)
  • Your Injuries That Are A Result of The Accident
  • Your Medical Treatment
  • Prior Medical History
  • How Your Life Has Been Impacted by The Accident
  • Lost Wages or Employment
  • Your Current Condition

How Do I Answer the Questions Being Asked?

First, while it may seem obvious, the most important thing you should remember is to tell the truth. You are under oath during a deposition and intentionally not telling the truth is the crime of perjury. Just as important, answering questions truthfully is the only way that you can guarantee that you will not be misrepresented in the future. Secondly, before answering any question that is presented to you, make sure you take a moment to make sure you understand the question that is being asked. If you do not understand the question or are confused, you need to make that clear to the opposing attorney. Simply tell the attorney that you do not understand the question and ask them to repeat or rephrase the question until you do understand. Third, when answering questions, you should give short and direct answers to the questions. Remember, a deposition is considered direct testimony and anything that you say can be used against you in the future. Thus, the best answer is the answer that fully and succinctly answers the questions that was asked. Finally, remember to remain calm. Do not allow yourself to become upset or frustrated with the defendant’s attorney. While the purpose of a deposition is to obtain information it is also a chance for all of the parties to see how well you would testify as a witness in trial. Your attorney is present at the deposition to protect your interests and if they feel there is something inappropriate happening, they will step in and take care of the situation.

If you have additional questions regarding depositions or are in need of a personal injury attorney, please contact our office at 614.542.0220.

Car Accident Fault Determination

Determining fault (liability, negligence) in a motor vehicle accident may seem like a cut and dry situation because the person that caused the accident is normally assumed to be the negligent party. However, many times it can be extremely difficult to determine the at fault party. To complicate matters further, there are multiple entities such as law enforcement, insurance companies and the court system that all must make their own determination as to whom is responsible for the accident. Below we will examine how each entity determines fault in a motor vehicle collision.

Normally, the first interaction you have besides gathering information from the other party involved in the collision is with law enforcement. The police officer at the scene will interview both the drivers and witnesses and survey the scene until they believe that they have gathered enough information to determine fault. Once the officer has completed this process, they will then decide who is the responsible party and submit a police report. However, just because the police officer has concluded which party is at fault, it does not necessarily mean that the other driver will be held legally responsible for damages caused by the collision.

At some point after the collision, you will be in contact with your own insurance company or possibly the other driver’s insurance company. It is important to remember that no insurance company, even your own, is ever truly looking out for your best interest. So, always be aware that anything you tell an insurance company that is not helpful to your claim, can and will be used against you. After speaking to all the parties involved in the collision, the insurance companies will determine who was at fault for the accident. When it comes to fault determination usually it is decided that one party or the other will be determined to be at fault, however, this is not always the case. Sometimes insurance companies will assign fault among some or all the drivers involved in the collision including you. Thus, if the other party caused the collision, you must clearly and consistently relay that information to the insurance company and never waver from that fact.

At any point during the determination of fault process it may be necessary to hire an attorney. As a rule, the earlier you involve an attorney, the better protected your rights will be throughout the process as they will be able to guild you through the traps and pitfalls that arise. For example, if you hire an attorney after fault has been determined by the insurance company, the attorney may contact the insurance company and discuss how they arrived at their liability decision as well as adding any statements or other evidence they have obtained in support of your position. Your attorney is there to represent your interests and present evidence that supports your position when it comes to all aspects of your claim including fault determination.

It is important to remember that police reports and insurance companies’ decisions as to fault ARE NOT legally binding determinations of negligence or fault. Only the court can make the final and legal determination of fault in a collision. Ultimately, if an agreement cannot be reached as to whom is at fault for a collision it will be up to a judge or jury to make that determination.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident and are going through this process, it may be time to speak with a qualified attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney will not only be able to protect your rights but will also be there to help and guide you through the claims process as well as any litigation or a trial concerning the collision.

How to Acquire a Crash Report

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision often you have a lot of information coming at you at the scene of the accident. Usually, you will speak to the other driver, the police officer who responds to the scene and maybe even witnesses who saw what happened. In addition, you may have more pressing concerns regarding your health or possible injuries, the state of your vehicle or even how will you be able to get to work or pick up your children with a vehicle that is not badly damaged. Because of all these issues, important information can and often is either forgotten or not collected after the traumatic experience you just went though.

Luckily, much of the important information you may need is contained in the Traffic Crash Report that is usually made when an officer reports to the scene of the collision. Crash Report’s often contain important information such as the name of the other driver involved in the collision, his or her insurance company information, and even the names of any potential witnesses. Crash Reports are compiled by the Ohio Department of Public Safety and can be found by visiting:


Crash Reports will typically appear on the website within a week or so of your collision, but it may take longer depending on the complexity or severity of the collision.

Once you are at the Crash Report website there are a couple ways of finding your crash report. The easiest way to find your report is to know the “Crash Number”. Often a responding officer will write this number down for you on a card or on any exchange of information sheets that are given to you at the scene.

If you do not have the crash report number, you can use the advanced search option where you can enter the following information:

  • Date of Crash
  • County in which the crash occurred
  • The law enforcement agency that completed the report (Columbus Police, State Trooper, etc.)
  • Your last name

So, what is contained in a standard crash report? Usually, the Crash Report will contain the following important information:

First page of Crash Report contains general information regarding the collision and includes the following:

  • The Crash Report Number typically found in the top right of the report’s first page
  • A description of where the collision occurred
  • The date and time of the collision
  • A diagram of the collision
  • A narrative of how the collision occurred according to the drivers/witnesses of the collision
  • The name or the responding officer and his or her reporting agency

The next few pages of the Crash Report contain information regarding Units or Vehicles involved in the collision and includes the following:

  • The vehicle’s owner’s information, including the owner’s address
  • The year make and model of the vehicle
  • License plate number
  • Owner’s insurance information
  • Diagram of the vehicle showing where the damage occurred and the severity of said damage
  • The Sequence of Events that lead to the collision
  • The traffic conditions at the time of the collision
  • The vehicles speed at the time of the collision and the posted speed for the area.

After the Unit/Vehicle information comes the Motorist/Non-Motorist pages and includes the following:

  • The name, address, date of birth, and gender of the drivers or the vehicles
  • If any person suffered any injuries
  • If the injured person was using a seatbelt and/or other safety equipment
  • If an injured person was transported by from the scene of the collision, what EMS Agency transported that person, and what Medical Facility treated the injured person
  • The operator license number of any drivers involved in the collision
  • If there were any restrictions on the drivers license of any of the drivers
  • If the officer issued a ticket or a traffic offense to one or more of the drivers and the name of the offense charged.
  • If alcohol or drug were suspected as a cause of the collision and if an alcohol or drug test was performed on any of the drivers

The final pages of the Crash Report list the name(s) address(es) and other important information regarding any occupants of the vehicles and/or witnesses to the collision. Sometimes, if the drivers of the vehicles offer different accounts of how the collision occurred, there will written statements added to the end of the Crash Report from the drivers, occupants, or potential witnesses.

If you do not have access to the internet you can also mail your request to the law enforcement agency that filed the report. In the letter, you will need to include both your name and address as well as the accident date and location. Additionally, there may be a cost involved for printing the actual report, so make sure that you call the reporting agency before mailing in your request. If neither online or mail works with your schedule, you may always go to the law enforcement agency that issued the report and request a copy of the report in person.

In conclusion, traffic crash reports are a vital piece of information when you are gathering evidence regarding your collision. This information can be used to strengthen your case and help you in the event that you need to provide additional information to the insurance adjuster to prove the other driver’s liability. However, if you feel that you need representation, the crash report will be one of the first documents that your attorney will acquire when they are building your case. Remember, in the event of a collision it is important that you gather as much information as possible to protect yourself and obtaining your traffic crash report is one of the best ways to do that.