Depositions are a common component of personal injury lawsuits. During the discovery phase of a case, the plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys can request and review any evidence the other party plans to use at trial and conduct depositions. The purpose of a deposition is to gather information from a witness and develop facts, although attorneys also use depositions to search for inconsistencies in the witness’s testimony. Depositions are set up like interviews, with witnesses answering questions from the attorneys working on the case.
If you bring a personal injury lawsuit against someone who harmed you, you could likely be asked to participate in a deposition. Depositions are conducted under oath and often take a few hours to complete, depending on the number of questions asked. The success of your lawsuit could hinge on your deposition, so it’s essential to come prepared.
Before your deposition, you should review the details of your case with your attorney. You should focus on any perceived weaknesses in your case. Your attorney will coach you on how to respond to questions you are likely to be asked by the defendant’s lawyer. Having a strong familiarity with the strengths and weaknesses of your case will set you up for success during your deposition. Depositions in personal injury lawsuits usually involve questions about the accident, your injuries, your recovery, and how the incident has affected your daily life.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of your deposition to your case. That’s why responding carefully and thoughtfully to every question you receive is crucial. While depositions can be stressful, your attorney will be at your side the entire time to protect your rights.
If you follow these guidelines, then your deposition is likely to be successful:
Make Sure You Understand the Question Before Answering
Don’t answer a question unless you understand it, and always let the attorney finish their question before you begin speaking. It’s perfectly okay to ask the attorney to repeat the question or to provide clarification if you’re having trouble comprehending what they are asking. It could harm your case if you don’t understand a question and answer with a guess.
One of the most important rules you should remember during your deposition is to always tell the truth. Even a tiny lie can be devastating to your case if your testimony changes in court. Your credibility will be ruined if you aren’t entirely honest during the deposition.
Answering truthfully might not always help your case, but honesty is still crucial. Your case could be irreparably damaged if you lie or stretch the truth.
If You Don’t Know the Answer, Say So
You might be asked questions you just don’t know the answer to. If you can’t respond accurately to a question, it is perfectly acceptable to say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall.” Rather than jeopardizing your case by speculating, it’s better to admit that you aren’t sure of the answer.
Pause Before Answering
Pause for a moment after every question. Pausing gives you time to think carefully about how you will answer the question, and it also allows your attorney to object if the question is inappropriate.
Only Respond to the Question Being Asked
Be as direct as possible when answering questions, and don’t elaborate or provide additional information, even if you think doing so will help your case. Even if the questioning attorney fails to ask you a crucial question, it’s best not to bring it up. If they overlook certain information, that’s on them. Your attorney may be able to use that information to your advantage during settlement negotiations or at trial.
Remain as Calm as Possible
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, it can be upsetting to have to answer questions about the legitimacy of your case. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little emotion during your deposition, but you should do your best to remain as calm as possible while being interviewed. Your attorney will provide you with the legal and moral support you need to make it through your testimony.
If you’ve been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, contact the San Diego personal injury attorneys of Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers immediately. If your personal injury claim leads to a lawsuit, you can count on our attorneys to guide you through every step of the legal process, including your deposition. We will ensure that you are well-equipped to answer tough questions carefully and accurately.
Call us today at (619) 233-5020 to schedule a consultation.