Your lawyer tells you that you’re going to have to give a deposition, and your first thought is, “What does that entail?” To begin, a deposition is a type of witness testimony that occurs outside of the courtroom and is transcribed in written form, and can also be video recorded. The purpose of a deposition is to obtain additional information in the discovery process, as well as, to use later in court if needed.
Like testifying in court, during a deposition you are asked questions under oath. The opposing counsel will ask you questions, and your attorney will ask anything they need to follow-up on. The type of questioning in this setting is usually grasping at more information than in a court setting, and should consist of a more back-and-forth conversation then you may think.
As part of your personal injury case you will likely have to give a deposition prior to your case going to court. Being in a room with lawyers, and being questioned can be nerve-racking, especially to those not familiar with the legal system. You will want to be as prepared as you possibly can as it will put you more at ease and ensure that your testimony is at its best.
Here are some helpful tips for giving a good deposition:
- Tell the truth. This should be the most obvious tip. Remember, you are under oath and must tell the truth. Additionally, sticking with the facts is all ways best; you want your story to come out as easily as possible. Embellishing or distorting what happened will not help you. The other side is going to investigate what you tell them.
- Take your time. There’s no rush to get your responses out. Take your time in not only formulating your answer, but also when speaking. All you need to do is take a deep breath and give the best answer that you can.
- If needed, correct yourself. If you mess up, don’t be afraid to correct yourself when necessary. It is understandable that you may say a wrong date or time. We all have a slip of the tongue. What you want is to make sure that you have the right answer on record. You don’t want the wrong answer to be used against you if you fail to correct it.
- Be courteous. Remember to always be courteous. Litigation can get very adversarial, and you may get frustrated with the line of questioning. Again, just take a deep breath and remain calm and civil. It will serve you best to do so.
- Be ready. Make sure that you get physically and mentally prepared the night before and morning of the deposition. That means making sure you get enough sleep, have a good breakfast, and know where you are going. You may have to plan for traffic or the like, so make sure to consider that. You don’t want to end up late and flustered.
All in all, while this is an important part of your overall personal injury case, don’t fret. Your lawyer will be there to put you at ease and assist you when she or he can. An experienced personal injury attorney is here to assist you at every step along the way. Having an attorney working on your behalf better ensures that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
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