Preparing For Your Deposition
Procedural Guidelines: Less is more
The procedural guidelines for defensive deposition practice may be expressed in two basic rules.
- The first rule – Tell the Truth – is simple and has no exceptions.
- The second rule – Don’t volunteer – is complicated, requires explanation, and has exceptions.
Tell the truth. This office is serious about this rule. The truth is what you must live with and because there is a case – or defense – if you tell the truth. Perjury is lying while under oath and it is to be avoided at all costs.
Remember, the facts will eventually come to light and lying will simply undermine and damage your credibility or believability.
How Should I Prepare For My Deposition?
You will meet with your attorney to prepare for your deposition. At that time, he will answer any questions you may have about the deposition and discovery process.
The best deponents take the time to review the facts associated with their cases. In personal injury cases, such as yours, it is important to review your entire medical and accident history. You should be able to recall the details of this accident and other injuries (including car accidents, work injuries and slip and fall injuries), whether they happened before or after this accident. You should be able to describe how each accident occurred, what parts of your body were injured, what treatment you received from each accident, how long you treated for each accident, and to what extent, if any, you recovered from each accident.
Lastly, you were the person injured in this accident. The accident affected your life. No one knows how this accident affected you better than you. You will be asked how this accident affected your life. You must be prepared to give the other attorney details concerning this issue. Be prepared to tell the other attorney how the injuries affected you in your day to day activities around the house such as sleeping, cleaning, cooking, gardening and taking care of your family. Be prepared to tell the other attorney how the accident affected your ability to do your job. This would include any lifting, sitting, standing, bending, concentrating or other requirements of your job.
Remember, we are attorneys; you know what your job requirements are better than we do. If you are, or were, a student following the accident, be prepared to tell the other attorney how your school was affected by the injuries including having to sit for long periods of time, carry books, concentrate during study hours and walk between classes. Be prepared a tell the other attorney how this accident affected your social life. This includes all activities you do for fun, exercise, health and/or relaxation. Remember, it’s your life. You know how it was affected. Give all the details regarding the accident’s effects on your life. You are not to embellish any facts. You are simply to tell the truth about these issues.
Should I Call My Attorney If I Have Questions?
Of course! Your attorney is there to help you with the case and prepare for the Deposition. This Brochure is just an introduction to the process. Your attorney will spend time with you preparing for your Deposition to discuss the Deposition process, the questions that will be asked and the best way to answer those question. You can never go wrong telling the truth.
ANY DISCUSSIONS YOU HAVE WITH YOUR ATTORNEY ARE PRIVILEGED. THEY SHOULD NOT BE DISCLOSED TO ANYONE.
What Is Deposition?
A deposition is a question and answer session approved by the court taken outside the courtroom under oath. The deposition is taken at the request of a party to a legal action for the purposes of discovering what the deponent knows in relation to that legal action. While taken outside the courtroom, depositions are part of the litigation process and conducted pursuant to Court Rules.
What Can I Be Asked During My Depositions?
A deposition is part of the discovery process. Discovery is a set of tools used for gaining and discovering information that may be used by parties during discovery and/or a trial, Under the Court Rules, a deponent (the person is being asked questions) can be asked questions about anything that relates to lawsuit or may lead to the discovery of relevant information. This includes questions regarding the deponent’s personal history, relevant medical history, and facts known to the deponent regarding the lawsuit.
Who Will Be At The Deposition?
You will be accompanied by your lawyer whose job it is to protect your interests at the deposition. All other attorneys involved in the action may be present during the deposition. Although it is not common, any other party to the action may also be present during your deposition.
What Do I Do At The Deposition?
Your job at the deposition is to answer all the questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. Take your time – allow the attorney to complete the questions before giving a response. This is not a race. Accuracy is important. Also it is important to hear the entire question to insure that your understand it before giving an answer. You are only required to answer questions that you understand. If you do not understand a question, ask the Attorney to repeat it or restate it. Lastly, it is important to take your time: your attorney may wish to make an objection or request clarification before you give a response.
If you do not know the information requested or do not recall it, simply reply. “I do not know” or “I do not recall”. If you’re able to give an estimate you should do so and qualify the answer as an estimate by stating the information is “about” or “ approximately”. However, you should not make any guesses. In order to give an estimate, you must have information on which to base the estimate. A guess is an answer based on speculation rather than some information upon which to base an opinion.
If you are asked how far something is, you can give an estimate based upon having seen it, knowing some information about distances, and comparing your information other familiar distances. However, if you are asked how much space is there between two offices in a building, any answer would be a guess unless you had some knowledge of the building and the offices. If you have this knowledge, you can use it to give an estimate based on your experience or similar information.
What Will My Attorney Do For Me At The Deposition?
Your attorney’s job it to protect your interest during the deposition. He or she does that by being there as a buffer between you and the adverse attorney. Your attorney may, from time to time, make objections to questions asked by another attorney. In most cases, this is done to preserve the objection for the future. However, you must still answer the question unless your attorney instructs you not to answer for legal reasons. Always follow your attorney’s instructions concerning whether or not to give an answer.
What Happens After The Deposition?
At some point after the deposition, you will be notified that a transcript has been prepared. You have that right to timely review the transcript and make changes. If you choose not to review the transcript, the court reporter will file an affidavit stating you chose not to do so. At that point, nothing that you said during your deposition can be changed, even if it is wrong.
If you do choose to review the deposition transcript, you will have the opportunity to make any changes to the testimony you feel are appropriate. It is important to understand that the ability to make changes at this time does not mean that you should not give complete and truthful answers during the deposition.
You will be under the same oath to tell the truth of the time that you make any changes as you were at your deposition or would be at the time of trial. Typically, you will be required to complete a form by indicating by page and line number(s) you are correcting and the reasons for the corrections.