Deposition Checklist

When a lawyer prepares to take a deposition for a lawsuit he or she usually has an outline or checklist of topics to cover.

The following sample checklist shows some of the items that a lawyer might consider in preparing the deposition of either the plaintiff or defendant in a car accident lawsuit. Since lawsuits involving car accidents frequently involve a counterclaim to the complaint, the items here may apply to either party involved in a car accident.

List of items for a deposition in a car accident lawsuit

1. Background information

    (a) Identification (name, address, age, social security number, marital status, children)
    (b) Educational background (high school, college, dates of graduation)
    (c) Any special training or licenses received
    (d) Employment background (job titles, description, name and address of employers)
    (e) Military background (service, dates of service)
    (f) Criminal record (charges, court and location, disposition)
    (g) Prior litigation experience (cases, courts, resolution)
    (h) Prior workers’ compensation experience (claims, dates, injuries)
    (i) Medical background (history)
    (j) Driving history (prior accidents, tickets)

2. The accident

    (a) Date of the accident
    (b) Chronology of events
    (c) Identity of witnesses
    (d) Statements given or obtained (when, to or from whom, in whose custody)
    (e) Investigations performed or participated in

3. Experts

    (a) Identity of experts (name, subject matter, facts and substance of opinion)
    (b) Relationship to party
    (c) Method of compensation

4. Consultants

    (a) Identity of any consultants (name, subject matter, outcome)
    (b) Relationship to party
    (c) Method of compensation

5. Property damage

    (a) Description of vehicle (make, model, license number, color, year)
    (b) Value of the vehicle
       (1) Date of purchase and purchase price
       (2) Offers received to sell vehicle
       (3) Prior repairs or maintenance to vehicle
       (4) Any estimates or appraisal of the vehicle before or after the accident
    (c) Condition of the vehicle before the accident
       (1) List of all prior mechanical repairs
       (2) Identity of repairman
       (3) Any inspection stickers
       (4) Any product recalls by manufacturer
       (5) Involved in any prior accidents

6. Injuries and illnesses as a result of the accident

    (a) Description of physical injuries
    (b) Description of mental injuries
    (c) Description of any emotional injuries
    (d) Present problems
       (1) Pain and suffering
       (2) Continuing or recurring emotional problems
       (3) Loss of earning capacity
       (4) Loss of enjoyment alleged
       (5) Loss of consortium

7. Any special damages

    (a) Information on loss of income claimed
    (b) Any loss of profit
    (c) Any loss of use of property
    (d) Any medical expenses
    (e) Other special damages claimed

8. Collateral source benefits

    (a) Workers’ compensation received
    (b) Social Security income
    (c) Insurance benefits
    (d) Pension benefits
    (e) Any disability income

9. What his contentions are

    (a) Concerning the cause of the accident
    (b) Concerning the nature of any defects to vehicles
    (c) Concerning how the accident could have been avoided

10. Potential witnesses

    (a) All persons observing the accident (names, addresses, any relationship to party)
    (b) All persons subsequently estimating or repairing damage to vehicles (names, addresses, charges)
    (c) All health care providers (names, addresses, charges)

11. Did the person own the car he was operating?

12. If the person was operating the vehicle with the permission of the owner, be sure the clarify:

    (a) How permission from the owner was obtained;
    (b) Whether any instructions, restrictions or limitations were received from the owner;
    (c) The number of times the deponent had operated this vehicle on prior occasions;
    (d) The identity of any passengers in the vehicle at any time within five (5) hours prior to the accident.

13. Violations of statutes:

    (a) Was the deponent charged with any violations as a result of the accident;
    (b) What was the outcome of any charges;
    (c) If any charges are pending, when they are expected to be heard.