2. Preparation, preparation,
and more preparation
Assuming the deposition goes forward, the
next step is to make sure you know the file
intimately. A successful deposition requires
First, know the history of the file and
know why you took the steps you did.
Prepare an outline or timeline of events.
Identify inconsistencies or changes in
strategies or decisions and be prepared to
explain them. Review all e-mails, pleadings, contracts, policies, and other documents. Be fully prepared to handle any
question pertaining to any aspect of your
handling of the file.
Second, be prepared for questions
about the actions or decisions of other
persons within the company involved in
your file. Pay attention to the actions of
prior company representatives if you did
not receive the original assignment. Review notes from your supervisors. Opposing counsel may try to “trap” you by
asking questions that get you to commit
to one approach knowing that a supervisor or co-worker took a different one. For
example, you may testify that you always
obtain certain information from the insured because it is company policy to do
so. Opposing counsel may then produce
an e-mail from a co-worker contradicting
that testimony. The contradiction may be
irrelevant but it may be used to challenge
your competence and truthfulness.
Finally, work with defense counsel to
identify the key facts and themes that are
relevant and important to the coverage
decisions. Accept that the file may not
have been perfectly handled; be prepared
to explain errors or problems and directly
address them. A good grasp of the file
and a reasonable explanation for the actions taken is the ultimate goal in preparing for deposition.
3. Know the claims manual
Opposing counsel may ask about the com-
pany’s claims manual or guidelines, which
counsel may or may not have obtained
through prior discovery. Know whether
your company has them in written form
and know what they say. Consult with
your attorney and with your company’s
regulatory department about whether the
state requires such written procedures and
policies. Identify the training required for
your position and the factors to be consid-
ered in making discretionary decisions.
Some of this information may be avail-
able on the Internet or on the company’s
external website. Know whether any
written statements contradict your usual
practice. Read the website and check with
counsel about any discrepancies.
Depending on the coverage issue in
dispute, it may be important to consult
with in-house counsel to identify cases in
which your company litigated the same
question in other jurisdictions. It may
be important to know the documents
produced or the positions taken in those
cases. Your attorney may also want to research cases involving the company as a
party on any related issues.
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered:
the point is to discover them” – Galileo Galilei
When you need to discover the truth
about what really happened,
ask an Expert. Ask ARCCA.
Accident Reconstruction | Biomechanics | Failure Analysis
Human Factors/Premises Liability | Crashworthiness
800.700.4944 • ARCCA.com
ARCCA can help with all phases of your
case - from initial investigation and evidence
preservation to design, testing, expert reports,
exhibit preparation and trial testimony.
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