In a personal injury case, depositions are a critical part of the discovery process. During a deposition, an attorney representing a party in the dispute asks a witness a series of questions in order to obtain more information about a case. Witnesses answer these questions under oath and typically in front of a court reporter who records the testimony. In some cases, a deposition will be videotaped.
If you are the victim of someone’s negligence and you are being questioned in a deposition, it can feel almost like an interrogation. The thought of a deposition may be scary, and you’re probably picturing scenes from television where an attorney badgers and is aggressive with a witness. While a witness has to answer all of the questions asked, the witness’s attorney can help prevent a witness from being attacked. If you’ve been told you have to undergo a deposition, there are some things you can do to prepare ahead of time.
Get Clear About the Facts
A witness’s deposition is not about crafting a good story. It’s about telling the truth. Taking the time to discuss what happened in detail with your attorney is important to make sure you have an accurate picture of what happened so your testimony will be truthful and complete.
Practice Answering Questions
Sit down with your attorney or a friend and roleplay a deposition. It can help you think about how to answer difficult questions and get you used to the feel of a deposition. This can make the situation less stressful.
Think About Your Behavior
An experienced attorney will be looking at not only how the witness answers questions but how the witness behaves. You will gain nothing by being argumentative, rude, or angry during a deposition. Think about steps that can help you release tension, such as taking a deep breath or taking a sip of water.
Learn About the Procedure
Before your deposition ask your attorney to explain some of the procedures to you. During the deposition, the attorneys may banter back and forth with objections and talking to the court reporter. Learn what that back and forth means. Know that it will likely have no effect on whether you have to answer a question, but it may make you feel more comfortable if you know what’s happening.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping the injured. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.