When attorneys say the word deposition, some people get worried and nervous, but let’s pull the curtain back on this legal process and understand what a deposition is, what a plaintiff can expect, and some advice on navigating this legal process. In essence, depos are where both parties are questioned after being sworn in and where a court reporter will record the questions and answers given. This step in the legal process reveals what everyone involved knows, and their testimonies are preserved. Ultimately, Depositions are supposed to prepare both parties on what can/will be discussed during the trial and to give both sides a better understanding of the facts of the case. Depositions are usually held at your attorney’s office, the defense lawyer’s office, or an unbiased court reporter’s office. It can be hosted on Zoom or in person, and all parties can attend. A court reporter will be present at every deposition.
One thing to keep in mind is that your lawyer won’t be playing as much of an active role on the day of the deposition as they will during the trial, as the questions asked are directly related to your life. Still, they may intervene to object to the phrasing of a question or the subject matter. During the deposition, the defense attorney will ask a string of personal questions like your marital status, medical history, residential history, accident history, employment history, and the accident itself. The defense attorney shall inquire about the medical treatment sought, what ways the injuries you sustained are affecting your everyday life, and more. Your Personal Injury lawyer shall prepare with you beforehand by going through different questions with you, answering your concerns, reviewing essential documents like interrogatories/your crash report, and overall, help you feel more confident about the procedure and questions you will be asked.
A personal injury lawyer will also give you invaluable advice. They might tell you that being brief and truthful is key, as deliberately lying is punishable by court. They might also tell you that the response “I don’t recall” is an appropriate answer to a question. No one can recall all the specifics, but it is vital that you try to identify things as precisely as possible. Furthermore, your attorney will tell you that you have the power to gain access to the transcript after the deposition, and you are allowed to make changes if you see any inaccuracies caused by the reporter or yourself. Please note that the defense can see the transcript and any changes you make and will attempt to use the transcript against you during the trial. In a deposition, it is essential to establish credibility; this is why attorneys will warn you against inconsistent answers to questions and prepare with you beforehand. Personal Injury lawyers will also tell you not to be defensive but polite when answering questions, to differentiate if you are directly quoting or paraphrasing a person, to promptly correct yourself if you misspeak, to take a second before you answer, to hear the entire question prior to responding, and to take this legal process seriously as it directly impacts the direction of your case.
We would be honored to help you take on this legal step. With our many years of experience, we can help you navigate your case and help you feel prepared and confident when you enter your deposition. Remember if you are injured in an accident, call Hicks & Motto, 561-683-2300.