Depositions can be nerve-wracking experiences. At our firm, many of our clients express fear of being questioned under oath, and we want to put them at ease. Giving a successful deposition is key to many auto accident cases in Orange County, and we are here to walk you through the process.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is a little bit like testifying at trial. However, it happens before trial and usually takes place in a lawyer’s office. The other side in the lawsuit can ask you questions under oath, which you must answer. Typically, a court reporter takes down the questions and answers or the deposition is videotaped. A deposition can last a few hours or several days, depending on the complexity of the case, but most can finish in a day.
Depositions serve many purposes. The primary one is to allow the other side to find out more about the case as you understand it. In a car accident dispute, the lawyer might ask you about the following:
● How you perceived the accident. What were you doing in the moments before the crash? What did you do after?
● Your injuries. How serious are your injuries? How much pain do you feel? When did you go to the doctor?
● Your treatment. What treatment did a doctor order? Have you been following your treatment?
By asking these questions, a lawyer can guarantee there are no surprises at trial. Also, the lawyer can confront you with your deposition statements if you try to say something different in front of the jury.
How to Survive a Deposition
If you have a deposition scheduled, you should fully prepare and follow these tips:
● Review key documents. You should probably take a look at the police report, any written statements you have given to an insurance adjuster, and other key documents. You probably also provided written answers to interrogatories, which you should also review. These should refresh your memory about what you think happened.
● Listen to the question. If you don’t understand what is being asked you shouldn’t answer. Instead, ask the lawyer to repeat the question or rephrase it. Then spend a second formulating an answer.
● Don’t volunteer information. Answer only the question asked and then stop. If you volunteer information, you could reveal something you shouldn’t.
● Tell the truth. Honesty is the best policy and will protect you from being accused of committing perjury under oath.
● Avoid speculation. You shouldn’t guess, and if you provide estimates make sure the lawyer knows you are only estimating. When you don’t know the answer to a question, simply say, “I don’t remember.”
● Ask for a break. If the deposition is dragging on and you feel tired, tell your attorney you need to take a break. You can get a cup of coffee to revive you so that you will be sharp for the remainder of the deposition.
Depositions are often unavoidable, but you can come through with flying colors by following this advice. If you have any questions, reach out to an Orange County personal injury attorney at RMD Law. You can call (949) 326-5000 to speak to a car accident lawyer today.