A deposition is a formal oral discovery process. Generally, when a homeowner or business owner files an insurance claim for loss due to hurricanes, tornadoes, fire, or other damages; they will make a claim for coverage through their insurance lawyer. The lawyer will explain your rights and file the formal claim for you. After a full investigation of your damages with the help of general contractors, appraisers, and other experts; a claim will be submitted.
If the claim can’t be settled, your lawyer will file a formal complaint. When the pleading stage of the case is finished, each side has the right to ask the other side oral questions and the right to submit written questions – of the other side.
Preparation by the claimant’s lawyer
The claimant’s attorney will help prepare the claimant for the questions that will be asked by conducting a trial run before the formal deposition. Claimants should expect that:
- The people at the deposition will be the claimant, a representative from the insurance company, your lawyer, the defense lawyer, and a court stenographer to record the questions and answers.
- The deposition will take place at an office of one of the lawyers or a room in the courthouse – but not a jury room. With the current lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, depositions may take place electronically.
- The claimant’s lawyer will inform the client:
- To wait to see if his/her lawyer has an objection before answering any questions.
- To wait to answer any questions until the claimant fully understands the question – or asks for clarification.
Common questions by insurance company lawyers
The attorney for the insurance company will depose the claimant. The defense lawyer’s goal is generally twofold:
- To try to show the insurance company isn’t liable. Most of the issues have to deal with the language in the contract. The lawyer may ask about the claimant’s understanding of specific terms. In many cases, the claimant’s lawyer will object to these questions on the grounds the language speaks for itself.
- To try to reduce the amount of damages that should be paid. This will be the crux of the questions that are asked. The defense lawyer will:
- Go through each room of the home or property and the overall structure (inside and out) asking – what was damaged, what did it look like before the damage, and what did it look like after the damage.
- Ask about any estimates that have been made about repairs
- Ask about which personal items were damaged and the value of each item damaged
- Inquire about the claimant’s needs to relocate temporarily and where that relocation will be
- Many other questions depending on the peril covered, the type of damage, and other factors.
At Warhurst Law, our insurance dispute lawyers guide each claimant through the litigation process. Due to our unique experience as insurance lawyers and former claims adjusters, we are often able to negotiate just settlements and/or cash advances. We aggressively pursue your claims in court when insurance adjusters don’t make fair settlement offers. For help with insurance claims due to any peril such as hurricane, fire, storm, or other disasters; call Warhurst Law at 251.207.1296 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. Our experienced insurance lawyers represent clients across the Southeast including Alabama, Florida, the Gulf Coast, and Louisiana.
* Warhurst Law cannot and does not guarantee an outcome to any case.