If you’ve been injured in an accident and are looking to seek compensation for your losses, you could find yourself in the midst of a lawsuit. Preparing for a personal injury trial can seem daunting, especially when thinking about parts of the process—like the deposition.
The deposition is part of the discovery process. Testimony collected is used to prepare for trial and avoid any surprises. Depositions are also useful if a witness cannot be present at trial. While many of the questions will not be admissible during the trial, the answers will help the attorneys move forward. If you’re dealing with a lawsuit and are heading in the discovery process, it’s important to know how to prepare for a court deposition. To start, let’s take a look at the definition and purpose of a deposition.
The Purpose of a Deposition
A deposition is a question-answer session between attorneys and a witness. As the witness, your answers will be given under oath, taken down in writing by a court reporter, and used by the attorneys to prepare for trial. Depositions are typically held in a lawyer’s office. The process can seem informal, but it’s anything of the sort.
Not every personal injury case warrants a deposition. For the ones that do, however, it’s usually because the opposing attorney is searching for evidence. They’ll want to see what you know about the case and find evidence in favor of their client. The defending attorney may also try to discredit your testimony later if your story changes at all.
Lawyers also want to see how you might present yourself to the jury. This will be the only opportunity for the defendant’s attorney to speak to you case your case before trial. In some cases, they may take your testimony and report back to the insurance company to determine the type of impression you made.
Tips for Your Court Deposition
While your lawyer will prepare you for your deposition before it happens, it can be nerve-wracking just thinking about the process. In order to alleviate some of that anxiety, let’s take a look at some tips to keep in mind for your court deposition.
- Be prepared. You and your lawyer will review the facts of your case so that you can answer questions correctly. Being prepared means you’ll make a good and truthful impression.
- Do not bring documents with you. If you bring notes or documents with you to your deposition to refer to, the defense attorney will likely request to review them and question you about them. In addition to that, some notes and documents are privileged, but that may be waived if you use those items to assist with your testimony.
- Avoid volunteering information. Your duty is to tell the truth and only answer the question that has been asked. Do not volunteer information or give testimony about something that was not asked.
- Think before you answer. Make sure you listen to the entire question and think about it before forming an answer. If you jump on answering before the entire question is asked, you could give away information the other attorney wasn’t asking or thinking about. A short pause will also give you the chance to think about the truth and the answer you want to give. And, your attorney will have the opportunity to make an objection if there is a basis to do so.
- Maintain your composure. What you’ve been through has been traumatic, but it’s important to remember to avoid getting rattled, upset, or argumentative during your deposition. Do your best to be pleasant, straightforward, and professional. If you make a good impression with the defense attorney, you’ll likely be able to do the same with a jury.
If you keep those tips in mind and are confident in knowing the truth should prevail, you will likely put your case in a good position for settlement or trial.
Working With an Experienced Lawyer Makes All the Difference
No matter what stage of the personal injury claims process you’re dealing with, it’s normal to experience stress and anxiety. When you work with Prince Law Firm, however, we’ll guide you through the process and do what we can to make it as simple as possible for you.
When you work with an experienced lawyer, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands and you’ll be fully prepared to take on whatever comes next. If you’re in a position where you believe you need a lawyer to seek justice on your behalf, contact us today.