If you have to give a deposition, these tips can help you prepare.
Many personal injury cases settle well before the lawsuit stage. After the initial investigation, a personal injury attorney files a claim or demand letter with the insurance company, some negotiations occur, and the two sides are often able to reach an agreement about a favorable settlement without filing a lawsuit.
But in other situations, a lawsuit is necessary in order for the insurance company to pay the accident victim the money he deserves for his injuries. In that situation, if you are the victim in a personal injury case, you may be asked to give a deposition. A deposition is part of the discovery process, which is where each side exchanges information and evidence about the case. During a deposition, you will sit in a room (usually a conference room at a lawyer’s office) with your attorney, the insurance company’s attorney, and a court reporter. You will be asked to take an oath before giving your testimony. You will be asked questions by the other side’s attorney, and your personal injury attorney may object to some of the questions. Then your attorney will have the chance to ask you questions. The court reporter will be transcribing the deposition, and it may also be video recorded.
Going into a deposition can be intimidating, especially if you have not participated in one before. Your personal injury attorney will likely extensively prepare you for your deposition. Here are some additional tips to follow when you go into a deposition:
- Always Tell the Truth: Remember that you are under oath when you are testifying at a deposition, and that you should never lie. Saying something untrue could be used against you at trial.
- Listen Carefully: Only answer the question that is being asked. It may be tempting to anticipate the question and just say something, but listen closely and only answer what you are being asked.
- Do Not Guess: It is OK to say that you don’t know. In fact, it is actually better to simply say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” than to try to guess and be wrong about your answer.
- Keep Your Answers Short: When the other side’s attorney is asking you questions, keep your answers as short as possible. This is not the time to tell your story or to volunteer extra information.
- It’s OK to Qualify Your Answers: If you need to add a phrase onto your answer for it to be accurate, that’s fine. If you are asked something about your medical records, you could say, “as best as I can remember,” or “I would have to defer to the record.”
- Watch Out For Leading Questions: In other words, don’t let the other attorney put words in your mouth. If you don’t agree with something the attorney said, say so!
- Be Careful with Estimates: Estimating can be tricky, whether it is time or distance. Avoid making estimates unless you are sure.
- Ask for Clarification: If you don’t understand a question, it is fine to ask the attorney for clarification.
- Take Your Time: It is better to make sure that you fully understand the question and that you have answered it well than to get the answer out quickly.
Above all, make sure you tell the truth — and that you are always courteous and polite to the opposing attorney.
If you have been hurt in an accident, the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker can help. We have helped more than 100,000 people get the money they deserve for their injuries. Contact us at 800-333-0000 or email@example.com to schedule a free initial consultation. We never charge a fee unless we get money for you!