Depositions are legal “interviews” used to obtain and record information regarding a specific event. If you have been involved in an accident, you may be required to give a deposition before the case is settled. Depositions are testimonies expressed in an oral manner and recorded in writing for further reference. Depositions hold a judicial value and are recorded under official oath administered by a court reporter, who will also record in written form or in other manner, the entire discussion.
Because depositions are held under oath and the entire procedure is very official, they can be intimidating processes for many people. If you are in the situation of taking a deposition, either because you are a plaintiff, a defendant or a witness, you need to know a few things in order to protect your rights through the entire procedure.
First and most important, ask for the services of a specialized injury lawyer, preferably from an injury law firm. At a deposition you will be confronted with the attorney of the opposing side, who may try to sway you into making affirmations that will harm your case. Don’t be fooled by the friendly appearance of the lawyer and also don’t be intimidated if the attorney seems hostile against you. For them, it’s nothing personal and everything they say and do is designed to influence you in the direction they want.
Always listen carefully to the questions and affirmations of those around and don’t allow your mind to wander, even if you are not actually the target of a question. Listen to everything spoken by your accident lawyer or the opposing attorney. If you don’t understand a question completely, don’t answer it until everything is clear.
Do not try to defend your case during a deposition, that’s the job of the injury law firm representing you; your sole duty is to answer the questions in a clear and concise manner.
Stick to the facts when accounting the events in question and do not try to depict them in a favorable light for you. If you exaggerate or deform the reality to better suit you, odds are it will do more harm than good.
Even if your testimony may seem to harm your case, telling the truth is always the best option. You will make a much better impression if you are honest and straight forward with all your statements.
The attorney representing the other side may try to trick you in straying from an accurate recall of the events and make you say something with negative consequences for you. Your injury lawyer will be there to stick up for you and request questions be withdrawn or rephrased if they are trying to manipulate your testimony. Just stick to the hard facts and rely on the experience of your counsel to handle the process.
Act calmly and politely with all the persons involved in the deposition. Respond to questions asked directly to you, but you are not obligated to volunteer information unrelated to the question. Let your attorney handle questions not directed to you.
There are some restrictions around how your injury lawyer can help you prepare for a deposition, but if you have any questions about the process don’t hesitate to ask.