What is an Examination Before Trial?

An Examination Before Trial (“EBT”) is also referred to as a deposition. An EBT is an informal proceeding where the attorneys for each side get to question the other side in relation to the underlying facts and circumstances of the lawsuit. The testimony is given under oath. It usually occurs at the office of one of the attorneys, a court reporter’s office or at the courthouse. Regardless of the setting, the only people present are the parties, their attorneys, and a stenographer who records every word spoken. If necessary, a professional interpreter can be used. There is no judge or jury present.

For most cases there are three parts to a EBT. These three parts are background information, liability (the facts that underlie the claim) and damages (injuries and loss suffered).

The first part has to do with background information. The questioning is not meant to be intrusive or pry into your personal life. The other party is merely trying to get a sense of who you are and how the incident affected your life. Common topic areas during this part of the EBT include: who you live with; your past and present employment; and your educational background.

The second part of the EBT has to do with liability, the facts that underlie the claim you are bringing. These questions are designed to assess whether the Defendant(s) are responsible or “liable” to you for damages. For example if you were involved in an accident, common questions would address what was happening before the accident, how the accident itself occurred, and what was done after the accident. It is important during this area of questioning to highlight exactly what the Defendant(s) did wrong to cause the incident. You should be aware that the liability section of each case is drastically different and depends fundamentally on the type of claim that you are bringing.

The final part of the EBT has to do with your damages. There are many different types of damages. Some examples are physical injuries, expenses, lost wages from your employment and other types of economic damages. Critically, the damages that you have sustained drives the value of your case. Therefore, you must let the person questioning you know exactly how this incident has affected your life.

To learn more about an EBT or if you need the assistance of an experienced personal injury law firm, we are here to help. We are happy to walk you through the litigation process with no obligation. Our firm’s motto is “Don’t Be A Victim Twice”. Call 1-800-Victim2 (1-800-842-8462) to schedule a confidential consultation with the New York personal injury attorneys at Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP. The call is free. The consultation is free. You don’t pay us unless we are successful. That’s our “Our Fee Guarantee: No Fee Unless Successful!”

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