How To Prepare for a Deposition

If you are injured in a car accident or other incident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may reach a point in the case where your deposition is taken. A deposition is a formal examination of a witness in a case so that lawyers can prepare for trial. 

Depositions are often a preview of the testimony that will be provided at trial. If you haven’t had much experience in the courtroom, giving a deposition can be nerve-wracking. However, a trial lawyer can give you tips and help you prepare for a deposition. 

Why Are Depositions Taken?

Depositions are part of the discovery process. Lawyers need to be able to prepare for their cases and avoid surprises. They can do so by taking depositions and conducting other discovery-related procedures. The lawyer wants to be able to find evidence to support their case or attack yours, as well as the source of additional evidence or testimony. 

Additionally, the lawyer may want to lock you into particular testimony. Lawyers know these statements are taken under oath. If your later testimony in court differs from the testimony you give during a deposition, the lawyer can try to impeach you with your testimony to attack your credibility. 

Deposition Rules 

There are many rules for depositions. These are determined by civil procedure rules but are sometimes altered at the agreement of the parties and their respective lawyers. Depositions must be scheduled in advance and may be limited in time. A court reporter makes a written transcription of the proceeding and provides a copy to both parties. 

A deposition works a lot like an examination of a witness at a trial. The person begins by affirming their oath to tell the truth. The format follows a typical question-answer process.

However, depositions are usually taken in offices or other neutral settings as agreed by the parties. Also, lawyers can only make certain objections during depositions and can only instruct their client not to answer to:

  • Protect privileged communication between the lawyer and client
  • Enforce a limitation on evidence the court has directed
  • Present a motion to terminate 

When making an objection, the lawyer must state it in a non-argumentative and non-suggestive way. 

How To Prepare for a Deposition 

Now that you understand how important it is, you might now be wondering how to prep for a deposition. Before the deposition, review the facts of your case with your lawyer. This will help you remember important details when you are asked about them. 

Additionally, you may be able to settle your case shortly after the deposition, so you want to provide a strong case. Reviewing the facts will give you a bullet list of items you can address during the deposition. 

Tips on How To Give a Great Deposition 

Here are some tips on how you can make a good impression and give a great deposition:

Take a Moment To Answer

This may be the best deposition advice you could receive. Do not answer a question before the lawyer has finished asking the question. Do not blurt out an answer. Instead, pause for a moment and think about the answer before you speak it out loud. This will ensure that you do not give away information that was not asked about. 

Also, if you don’t understand the question, this will give you a chance to ask the lawyer to clarify. And, if your lawyer has an objection, they can make it before you give a recorded answer. 

Only Answer the Question Asked

People tend to overtalk when they are nervous or fill the silence with words. However, it is important that you only answer the specific question that was asked. Do not volunteer information. Instead, provide a concise answer to the question and then wait for the next one. 

Be Honest

You swore to tell the truth, and you must honor that oath. Nothing can hurt your credibility more than being caught in a lie. Only provide truthful answers. 

If you don’t know the answer, you can say that. Same thing if you don’t remember something. Do not guess if you don’t know. You can simply say, “I don’t know,” when that’s an honest response. 

Ask for a Break

If you start to get tired or fatigued, you can ask for a short break. Take a few minutes to gather yourself and your thoughts. 

Stay Calm

Lawyers are often trained interrogators. They may try to get under your skin. However, this is usually to try to irritate you so that you say something that hurts your case. Avoid taking the bait and stay calm. 

Many depositions are videos recorded, so you do not want to give the opposition a video representation of you getting angry or upset. Instead, remain polite and professional so you can make a good impression. 

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Before Giving a Deposition

If you have an upcoming deposition, it may be in your best interest to bring an attorney. A lawyer can ensure your rights and interests are maintained throughout the process and that you aren’t taken advantage of. Your deposition can heavily impact the final outcome of your case, so it is best not to take chances.

Contact a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 933-0015