5 Tips for a Successful Deposition in a Personal Injury Case
Learn how to present your case effectively during a personal injury deposition
In the course of pursuing a personal injury claim, almost every victim will need to give a deposition. The only exception might be if your accident was very obviously caused by the defendant and their insurance company provides you with a fair settlement offer almost immediately.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is an oral statement given under oath for the purposes of discovery. In other words, the deposition is a sort of interview between the witness and the attorney, which allows the attorney to investigate what the witness knows and create a written record showing of that knowledge. The witness’ future testimony in court is expected to be consistent with what is in the deposition.
In the case of a personal injury victim, the deposition is likely to cover all the details of the accident and the injury, as well as information about the recovery process and the changes the accident has brought to the victim’s life.
5 Tips for a Successful Deposition
When giving a deposition, it is very important to be very thoughtful about your statements as they could make or break your case. While your attorney should prepare you for your deposition very carefully, in addition to their advice you should also remember these 5 tips.
Make Sure You Understand the Question
Obviously, you cannot give an accurate answer to a question you do not understand. Be sure to wait for the attorney to finish their question before you try to answer it, and if you do not understand the question, say so. It does not benefit you to guess at what the question means and risk saying something that could be misinterpreted.
Do Not Be Afraid To Say You Do Not Know
If you are asked a question and you are not sure of the answer, it is perfectly acceptable to say you do not know or you cannot remember. If you are pushed on the issue, just say that you do not want to risk violating the oath you have taken to provide truthful testimony by guessing at an answer.
Do Not Diverge From the Question
Only answer the questions you are asked. Do not provide extraneous information even if you feel it helps your position. If the deposing attorney does not ask you a vital question, it is their own fault for overlooking the information. Your own attorney may be able to use that information to your advantage later as “surprise” evidence at trial or as ammunition in a settlement negotiation.
During your deposition, you will almost certainly get asked questions that will upset you. It is okay to show emotion or even cry if you need to. However, you must be careful not to let your emotions interfere with your ability to answer questions carefully and honestly.
Always Read Before You Sign
After the deposition is complete, you will be asked to sign the court reporter’s typed transcript. Never waive your right to read the transcript before signing. This will allow you to correct any misstatements or omissions in your testimony.