Fiol Law Group|Posted in Lawsuits on January 16, 2019
A deposition is the legal process of finding out more about a case. It is a part of the discovery phase in a personal injury lawsuit. During a deposition, an attorney from the defendant’s side has the right to request interviews with the victim and other witnesses. A deposition will require the witness to take an oral statement under oath prior to settlement or trial. Depositions give both sides of a lawsuit information they may be able to use later. Tips for how to handle a deposition can help you prepare as a personal injury accident victim.
Give a Good Impression
Although it is the facts of the case the opposition is looking for, it can help your case to make a good impression. The attorney will also be evaluating your credibility as a victim or witness. Giving a favorable impression with the right clothing, polite responses, and a calm demeanor can strengthen your credibility and help your case. It is okay to get emotional during your testimony, but try not to get angry or frustrated with the attorney or the process.
Prepare Your Responses
Your attorney will help you know what types of questions to expect, and how to prepare a strong answer that will not jeopardize your case. The more preparation you and your attorney do for the deposition, the more confident you will feel on the day of the questioning. Prepare the story of your accident, as this may be your only chance to tell it if the case does not go to trial. Also prepare answers to commonly asked questions, which your attorney can help you determine.
Review Case Evidence and Information
The opposition’s legal counsel may try to catch you in an inconsistency with the facts of your case. To avoid this, take time to review the details of your accident and injuries. Review all the available evidence in your case, including police reports, medical records, and eyewitness statements. Look at your written discovery responses, if applicable, to try to keep your testimony consistent. Your attorney can help you gather and review the appropriate documents.
Do Not Answer Every Question
Having your attorney with you during a deposition can help you avoid answering objectionable questions, such as leading questions or those intended to trap you into contradicting yourself. Your lawyer can give you advice as to whether or not to answer certain questions during the deposition. While you must provide some information during the process, you do not have to answer every question asked if the question is objectionable.
Keep Responses Brief
Answer questions honestly, but do not provide more information than is necessary to answer the question. Only answer the question the attorney asks – no more. Be as brief and concise as possible in your answers. This will help ensure you do not accidentally give your opponent information that could strengthen the case against you. If you do not know the answer to a question, a simple “I don’t know” will suffice. Do not guess or speculate about answers for questions you do not know the answers to.
Tell the Truth
It is imperative that you do not lie during a deposition. You will have to swear an oath that what you say is the truth. Lying under oath is the crime of perjury, and could result in criminal consequences. You can explain your answer, if desired, but you must keep to the truth. Do not state something as a fact if it is only speculation. Stay calm and collected, and use your lawyer to help guide you through the process. If you realize later you made a mistake or left something out, tell your attorney right away. Your attorney can correct or add information so the final deposition transcript is complete and accurate.