What Happens at a Deposition?
Posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2022 at 2:20 pm
Sometimes the only way to obtain justice and fair compensation are through the legal system. A personal injury lawsuit is one avenue for pursuing valuable compensation after careless individual causes an accident.
For most people, taking their case to court can seem overwhelming. A knowledgeable attorney with Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC can help ease this stress by outlining how the legal process works, especially one of the most nerve-wracking portions of the process, a deposition. When you know what to expect and how to prepare for a deposition, you’ll feel prepared for what lies ahead.
What Is Deposition?
In a personal injury case, deposition is a legal process that involves gathering information from those involved in the accident. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you will eventually need to sit for a deposition. A deposition session is like an interview or question-and-answer session.
During this session, the attorney for the opposing side will ask you a series of questions. Questions generally revolve around the circumstances of the accident, your injuries, the treatment you’ve received, and how your life has changed. An attorney may also ask you about your background, work history, and whether you have pre-existing health conditions.
Most depositions occur in an attorney’s office and not in a courtroom. Although the attorney for the opposing party will be questioning you, your attorney can be present and support you through the process. A court reporter will also be present, who will swear you in and transcribe all the questions and answers. Depositions are conducted under oath, so you must tell the truth when answering an attorney’s questions.
Sitting for a deposition can be stressful. Your conduct during the interview and how you answer the questions presented can potentially strengthen or jeopardize your case.
The Purpose of Deposition
Depositions belong to a phase of the legal process called discovery. During the discovery portion of a case, lawyers investigate the cause of an accident and gather evidence and information to support their position. Discovery helps attorneys prepare for trial by establishing how the accident occurred and what everyone involved knows about the circumstances of the accident. During discovery and especially the deposition process, an attorney can also evaluate the credibility of those involved.
Experienced attorneys understand that a deposition can help them evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their case and their opponent’s case. The information can also help an attorney craft or refine a legal strategy for use at trial.
How Do You Prepare for a Successful Deposition?
The thought of reliving a traumatic accident may be overwhelming. However, your conduct in the deposition can influence the direction of your case. While your attorney will prepare you for the specifics of what’s ahead, you can refer to these suggestions for providing a powerful and successful deposition.
- Always tell the truth – During a deposition, you are under oath. Clearly and honestly answer all questions presented to you without embellishment. You may be tempted to sugarcoat the truth or tell a little white lie to frame yourself in a more favorable light. Don’t. Lying or being evasive can damage your credibility and hurt your case.
- Be polite – Sometimes opposing attorneys break out tactics to confuse or frustrate you. Answering the same question posed to you in multiple different ways can get annoying. However, always remain polite and respectful. Keeping a level head benefits you in the long run.
- Do not offer opinions – When answering questions, stick to the facts. Never offer your opinion or make assumptions.
- Dress for success – Dressing appropriately doesn’t mean wearing a tuxedo or evening gown to the interview. However, you do want to show respect and that you are taking the process seriously. Business casual attire is your best bet. Avoid arriving in stained or torn clothing or inappropriate items like sweatpants or pajamas.
- Use clear and focused communication – The court reporter makes the deposition record into a transcript. This transcript goes to both sides for review. It is vital to clearly communicate your answers and avoid gestures like nodding or using phrases such as “yup” and “uh-huh.” You want your meaning to be straightforward and easily understood.
Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
With the help of Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC, you don’t have to walk into a deposition alone. Our skilled Cincinnati personal injury attorneys can assess your case and assist you in confidently forging ahead.
Is someone else to blame for the accident that injured you? Our team wants to help you pursue the compensation you deserve to move forward with your life. Contact our office by calling (513) 351-5997. We will set you up with a free case evaluation to discuss how we can help.