How to Give a Good Deposition
After filing a lawsuit, each side can request information from the other. For example, the other side might want copies of your medical records, or they might give you written questions to answer. In your personal injury lawsuit, you might need to answer questions under oath in a deposition.
Typically, depositions are held in a lawyer’s office with each side’s lawyers present. The defendant’s attorney will ask you questions, which will be recorded by either a court reporter or a video camera. To give the best deposition possible, follow the tips below.
Go Over Your Testimony with Your Attorney
Your personal injury lawyer can help you prepare by going over your testimony. It might have been months since the accident, so reviewing documents and revisiting the event can help refresh your memory. If you are especially nervous, your lawyer can ask you some questions in a sample deposition.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A deposition can last all day, especially in complicated personal injury lawsuits. You want to be fully rested and ready to go. Remember to eat a solid breakfast before heading in to the deposition so that you have sufficient energy.
Listen Carefully to the Questions
They key to a good deposition is to answer the question asked but not volunteer too much information. Listen closely and ask the lawyer to repeat or clarify the question if you did not understand it. Take a second to collect your thoughts and then answer. If the lawyer has follow-up questions, he or she can ask them. The last thing you want to do is ramble, so answer as briefly as possible.
You don’t get anywhere trying to make your injuries sound worse than they are. If the lawyer asks you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, don’t automatically say 10. If you are asked whether you can sleep at night, don’t claim you “never” sleep. In truth, most people get at least a couple hours.
Statements you make in a deposition could come back to haunt you. For this reason, you need to be accurate in your testimony. If you do not know the answer to a question, don’t guess. Instead say, “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember.”
Sometimes, you might need to provide an estimate. For example, in a deposition about a car accident, the lawyer might ask how far away the car was when you first saw it. Since you are providing an estimate, preface your answer by saying, “I can only estimate, but the car was….”
Take a Break if Necessary
If you need to use the wash room or get something to drink, ask your lawyer if you can take a break. Your lawyer is there to protect your rights and will try to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Don’t keep answering questions, because you might get careless. Sometimes, five minutes is all you need to collect yourself.
An Experienced Advocate in Your Corner
At Earnhart Law, we represent injured victims in a variety of personal injury lawsuits, include car accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, and dog bites. To learn more about our services, please contact us at your earliest convenience by calling 561-265-2220. One of our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers will be pleased to meet with you.