Tips to Prepare For Your First DepositionMarch 23, 2017
When your case moves to litigation, the defendants will want to take your deposition. A deposition is form of discovery where you are asked questions, under oath, and are required to answer them. Depositions are typically used for discovery of your side of the events, obtaining details about the injuries you suffered, your medical treatment, your past medical treatment, and more. For most of our clients, depositions are nerve wracking. However, a deposition is no reason to stress, and a few tips can help ease the nervousness.
One of the most important things to understand about a deposition is the defendants will be speaking directly with you. How do you react to questions? Are you combative? Are you argumentative? Are you nervous and twitching? The defendants want to see how you will present as a witness to a jury. If you are rude and combative or grossly exaggerate your injuries, the jury will not empathize with your claims. However, if you are kind and sincere, you are more likely to connect with the jury.
During a deposition, you should always be honest and keep your story straight. If you think a fact is going to hurt your case, you must be forthright and honest about it. Your attorney will advise you as to how to properly respond during questioning. However, if you lie, exaggerate, or constantly change your story, you will destroy your case. Credibility is extremely important and if your story is changing, the jury will not believe you.
With that in mind, it’s okay to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall at this time.” It’s not a pop quiz, it’s a deposition. By the time you are in litigation, the wreck probably happened a year or two prior to your deposition. Do not let the defense attorney nail you down to an answer you are not sure is accurate. Remember, you need to be honest. If you are asked where you were when you sent an email three years ago, the honest answer is more likely “I don’t recall” rather than “I was in my office.” If it turns out you were not in your office, you gave the defense an opportunity to impeach your credibility.
Finally, take time to think through your response before you speak. Don’t rush to answer. Depositions are not under time constraint. You don’t get any extra points by answering the question quickly. If you don’t understand the question, ask for a clarification. You can’t answer honestly a question that you don’t understand. And remember – your testimony is under oath and may be videotaped, so answer and dress like you would in court.
The attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm have successfully handled all types of personal injury cases and have vast experience preparing their clients for depositions. Contact us today for a free consultation.