If you have a personal injury case, you may be required to undergo a deposition with the defense attorney. A deposition is a simple proceeding in which a defense attorney asks you questions in order to assess the case and prepare their defense. You may be required to undergo a deposition even if your case does not go to trial, as the defendant in your case may decide whether or not to offer an adequate settlement based on your deposition.
Before you undergo a deposition, it is important that you prepare for it. Below are some tips to get you ready.
Know Who Will Be At The Deposition
A deposition will generally include you, your lawyer, the defense attorney, and a court recorder. For many people, it is the first time they will meet the defense attorney. You may want to ask your lawyer what the defense attorney is like or do some basic research about the defense attorney online to get a feel for their personality. This will make you more comfortable during your deposition.
At your deposition, you should not be swayed by an overly friendly attorney or intimidated by harsh, straightforward questioning. By knowing who will be conducting your deposition, you will be better prepared to face either type of questioning.
Be Prepared To Tell The Truth
A deposition is given under oath. This means you must tell the truth. However, you do not have to give more information than what you are directly asked about. You should practice describing aspects of your life and the circumstances surrounding your injury in short, truthful statements. Keep in mind that you can say you do not remember something or are unclear about a question if this is the case. You should not feel pressured to make up an answer to a question if you cannot give a truthful answer.
Know What Types Of Questions Will Be Asked
During a deposition you will be asked general questions about your life before your injury, questions about the incident itself, and questions about your life with the injury. Knowing what questions you will be asked and practicing answering the questions can make you feel more comfortable for your deposition. Additionally, it will help you prepare short, truthful answers for the questions that are most likely to be asked.
Your lawyer should help you prepare a list of practice questions before your deposition. Additionally, your lawyer may help you practice for your deposition by creating a mock deposition in their office.
Practice Pausing Before Answering
Before you answer any question at a deposition, you should pause and make sure you understand the question fully. You may be eager to answer to show you have nothing to hide, but answering too quickly may cause you to make mistakes or to reveal things the defense attorney has not asked about. You should let the attorney finish their question fully, pause, take a breath, and then answer in a short, concise sentence.
Practice Active Listening
Sometimes a lawyer may summarize a statement you made and ask you if you agree with their summary. In some cases, the lawyer may slip in statements that are misleading or that you do not completely agree with, but because most of the statement is correct, you will say you agree. It's important to practice active listening so you understand exactly what the lawyer is saying before you agree or disagree with any statements. By practicing active listening beforehand, you will go into your deposition prepared to fully understand what is being asked.
A deposition does not have to be frightening or unsettling. However, you should prepare for it in advance to give the best statement possible. Contact a law firm like Curiel & Runion, PLC for additional information.