Personal Injury Depositions: 5 Things To Remember When Giving Your Testimony
So, you filed a personal injury lawsuit and there is a deposition coming up. Are you prepared for it? The deposition is a professional meeting in which one side will generally interview witnesses and other called upon parties regarding evidence that has been discovered up to this point. In your deposition, the opposing side's attorney is going to depose you and ask you a number of questions. This can be scary, but here are a few things to keep in mind to try and make the deposition as smooth as possible:
1. Always Carefully Listen to the Questions Being Asked.
With each question, you need to make sure you are giving your full attention to the opposing attorney. The information that is provided in a deposition can and will likely be used if you go to trial. Therefore, you want to make sure that you clearly understand the question so that you can answer it correctly. Otherwise, you may provide inaccurate information simply because you were not listening and paying attention to the wording of the question. Take your time in the deposition and ask for it to be repeated or explained if you did not hear or understand the question.
2. Be As Precise As Possible.
A common symptom of anxiety is rambling. Try to avoid doing this. Yes, you are going to be worried and nervous, but it is important that you stick to short and sweet answers. If you need to explain something, do so briefly.
3. Be Completely Truthful.
In a deposition, you are under oath just as you would be if you were in a courtroom. It is important to always answer truthfully in your deposition. This is not only to protect your case and your own credibility, but to protect yourself from being charged with perjury.
4. Take the Time to Practice Ahead of Time.
Whether you practice with your attorney, a paralegal or even a close friend, it is crucial that you practice. It is better if you can do this in your attorney's office so that you can get the feel of how a deposition is, as it is much different than sitting in a chair across from your attorney. For one, you'll be videotaped, and just the sight of the video camera can be extremely stressful. In addition, practicing can help you become familiar with potential questions you may be asked and better formulate your answers.
5. Just Relax and Know You Can Request Breaks.
It will be hard to actually relax, but a deposition is not generally supposed to be an antagonistic process. Take a deep breath if you start to feel nervous and try to center yourself. Request a short break if you are tired or need a drink. If you're uncertain how to properly answer a question, ask for a brief time to confer with your personal injury attorney. Your lawyer is there to help you when you need it. By remembering this, you may be able to relax a bit easier.
For more help with preparations for a deposition, get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer.