How To Prepare for a Deposition

Depositions are a part of the pretrial discovery process, and they are critical evidence in just about any personal injury lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit as the victim of a personal injury, chances are good that you will have to give testimony at a deposition. 

Depositions, however, aren’t easy to get right. You will need thorough preparation and good advice.

Who Attends a Deposition?

The following parties attend a deposition:

  • The witnesses;
  • Lawyers for both parties;
  • Lawyers for the witnesses; and
  • The court reporter

One person who will be conspicuously absent is the judge. The absence of the judge means they won’t be able to rule on any objections. A lawyer might, however, object “for the record” (for the court reporter, in other words).

Scope of Questioning

The lawyer is not limited to asking you questions that call for an answer that would be admissible as evidence at trial. In a sense, depositions are fishing expeditions. The lawyer can ask you any question that is calculated to lead to admissible evidence.

Be careful how you answer (see below). For instance, it is almost certain that the opposing lawyer will try to blame you for your own injuries.

How To Give a Great Deposition

Follow the below advice to maximize your chances of a successful deposition:

Rehearse Extensively in Advance

Ask your lawyer to help you. During rehearsals, your lawyer might treat you aggressively and unfairly. They might deliberately attempt to make you angry. 

That is a sign that you have hired a good lawyer. You need to practice sitting on the hot seat, because you will be sitting on one during the deposition. The more you rehearse now, the better off you will be later.

Tell the Truth

“Oh, the tangled webs we weave, when we practice to deceive.” Cross-examining attorneys are experts at catching lies and inconsistencies. If they catch you in the smallest inconsistency, they will seize upon it and try to use it to completely discredit you. Don’t give them any ammunition.

It is also important to note that prior to your testimony, you will swear to tell the truth. If you break that oath concerning a “material” (important) matter, you have committed perjury, which is a criminal offense. It’s not worth the risk, even if the truth is distasteful.

Keep Your Cool

Have you ever lost your cool and said something you later regretted? We all have. Don’t do this at a deposition (or in court). You can be sure the opposing party’s lawyer will be trying to provoke you. 

Listen Carefully to the Question

Take your time answering questions if you need to; don’t let the opposing lawyer rush you. There are two dangers here:

  • Giving a bad answer because the question itself confused you.
  • Giving a bad answer because you thought you understood the question when you really didn’t.

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification of any question you don’t understand.

Don’t Give Out Unnecessary Information

Answer only the question the lawyer asks you, and keep your answers strictly within the scope of the question. Information is currency in a personal injury lawsuit, and you don’t need to give the opposing party free currency.

Avoid Speculating

Speak about what you know, not what you think might be the case. Your speculations are not admissible evidence anyway.

Don’t Bring Notes With You to the Stand (If You Want to Keep Them Private)

By law, the opposing attorney is entitled to examine any notes you bring with you to the stand. It’s better to keep them in your head, if possible, than to write them on a piece of paper.

Do Not Try To Handle a Deposition on Your Own

Giving a deposition isn’t any fun. You will find yourself under constant pressure from someone who is virtually salivating for the chance to exploit your slightest error. In all likelihood, you won’t have a chance of avoiding disaster if you try to handle a deposition on your own. Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you.

Contact the Pinellas County Personal Injury Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg personal injury law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
(727) 796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
(727) 349-1728