If your lawsuit lawyer has filed a lawsuit in your personal injury case, and you are heading towards trial, it’s very likely that you’ll have your deposition taken.
Depositions are important parts of a personal injury lawsuits. The term is used to describe a recorded interview that often means you’ll be sitting in a room and answering questions asked by the opposing side’s attorney.
A deposition is different than just an ordinary interview. A court reporter is also present, and will record a transcript of everything that is said.
This deposition testimony can later be used as evidence and could be read in trial (if your case reaches that point.)
Depositions take place in a firm’s conference room, not a courtroom, however there will be a court reporter who will swear you in.
Because you are sworn in, you must tell the truth.
Your attorney will meet with your prior to your deposition to help you prepare. Depositions can be pretty stressful. It can be nerve wracking to sit in a room, be sworn in and questioned for hours. Let your attorney know you are nervous and he can help you practice answering questions so you have a little experience, and so you feel a little more comfortable.
Depositions are used to not only discovery facts about the case, but to also find out how you will come across to a jury.
What else can you do to make this stressful experience go a little more smoothly? Try and follow these ten tips.
- Speak audibly. Try to be clear.
Court reporters cannot record head nods and head shakes. The attorney will re-ask the question if you respond that way, dragging out the process.
- Dress well, and be well groomed.
Part of the purpose of a deposition is to see how well you present. Make a good appearance.
- Remember, this is a question-answer style interview!
Do not make casual conversations or jokes. Just answer the question directly.
- Take your time listening to a question, pause, and then answer.
This not only allows you to gather your thoughts, but gives your lawsuit attorney a chance to object if need be, and helps the court reporter properly document.
- “I don’t’ remember” “I don’t know” and ” I don’t understand” are all perfectly good answers.
- Ask for breaks.
Stretching your legs, and getting air can help you stay alert. For longer depositions, breaks will be automatic but if you need one at any time, ask.
- Give shorter answers when possible.
Don’t offer information if you don’t need to. Just answer the question as concisely as possible.
- Review your medical records and the accident report.
Reviewing any relevant paperwork can help remind you of what happened. Deposition tend to happen a long time after the initial injury, so sometimes details can be hazy.
- Try not to get angry when the opposing lawsuit attorney asks you questions and questions your responses.
Try and stay calm. A calm plaintiff is worth a lot more than an angry one. Do not battle with him or refuse to answer any questions. If the question is inappropriate, misleading, or not worded correctly, your own attorney will object to the question. Do not answer a question if it has been objected to.
- Above all, tell the truth.
Questions will be repeated in different ways throughout your case, and if you tell the truth you will never get in a tangle. Be honest!