Contact With Interior Portions of the Car
In a typical motor vehicle accident deposition, the plaintiff will be asked almost word-for-word: “Did any portion of your body come into contact with any portion of the interior of the vehicle?” The purpose of this question is establishing (or disproving) causation i.e. did this accident cause the injuries claimed or were they caused by something else (such as natural degeneration)? The simplest example of contact between your body and your vehicle is your head hitting the windshield. However, there are many other examples which do not come to mind as quickly such as a knee hitting the dashboard or side panel, chest hitting the steering wheel, neck and back striking the driver’s seat (in a whiplash scenario), and shoulder being jerked by your seatbelt. In fact, I once had a case where a passenger sustained a torn left rotator cuff as a result of holding the handle above the passenger side door with her left hand at the moment of impact. If you were not properly prepared for your deposition, you may not know how to answer this question or understand what it is really asking and why. We never send a client out to testify without a thorough preparation with one of our attorneys, so mistakes like this do not happen.
Same Insurance Carrier for No-Fault and Liability (the Double Geico Scenario)
As we have explained here, there are two primary insurance policies that come into play in a typical car accident: (1) No-Fault insurance, which is the policy on the vehicle you were traveling in and pays for medical and other reasonable and necessary expenses, and (2) Liability insurance, which is the policy on the other driver’s vehicle and which compensates you for your pain and suffering. In this state, where only handful of insurance carriers dominate the marketplace, it is not unusual for both vehicles in a particular accident to have insurance through the same insurance carrier. The insurance carriers are well aware of this fact and will use it to their benefit. How? Long before a lawsuit is ever filed, the No-Fault insurance carrier has a right to demand that you appear for various physical examinations and sworn testimony. The failure to appear for either normally results in a denial of No-Fault benefits, meaning that if you don’t jump through the hoops they want you to, they won’t pay for your medical treatment. This is not the case with liability insurance, which is only entitled to a physical examination and sworn testimony if and when a lawsuit is brought, after you’ve had months or even years of treatment. When the No-Fault and liability carriers are the same company, however, they don’t need to wait for you to start a lawsuit for them to start devaluing your claim. Often, the “No-Fault” carrier, which in this scenario is identical to the liability carrier, will demand that you appear for a physical examination and give sworn testimony regarding your accident and injuries. There are various pretextual “reasons” for this, but the goal is clear: the carrier wants to start building their defense and reducing the value of your claim as early as possible and what is permitted under No-Fault law provides them with the perfect pretense for doing so.