It is important to get ready for your deposition. A deposition can be stressful since there is a lot at stake. If your deposition goes well, it can mean a quicker and larger settlement, and if it goes poorly, it can mean the opposite. Most people who have been injured want to settle quickly because they have bills and expenses that are unpaid because of their injuries. The following tips should help you to get ready for your deposition so that it goes smoothly.
Tell the Truth
It is important to tell the truth at your deposition. Being truthful is always important, but it is especially important at your deposition because you will be under oath, and anything you say will be recorded. If you do not tell the truth, it can be
used against you during settlement negotiations or at trial.
It is Okay to Say You do Not Know or Remember
You might be asked a question that you do not know the answer to during your deposition. It is also possible that you will not remember something that you are asked about. It is better to say that you do not know or that you do not remember something than it is to give an answer that is inaccurate. If you do know the answer to what is asked, then you should be honest and answer truthfully.
Take Five to Think
Take your time when answering questions at your deposition because it is important to give accurate answers. It can be difficult to slow down at a deposition because it is an uncomfortable environment, and most people want to get it over with quickly.
A useful trick to force yourself to slow down is to count to five before you answer a question. A few seconds can make all the difference in providing an accurate and truthful answer, so take five seconds to think about what is being asked before you
give an answer.
Clarify the Question
Lawyers make their living by asking questions, and sometimes the questions they ask are designed to be tricky in order to get an answer that is good for their client, but bad for you. If you do not understand a question, it is perfectly acceptable to say so and to have the question asked in a different way.
Answer What is Asked and do Not be a Volunteer
It is important to only answer the question that is asked of you. You have no responsibility to provide additional information that could possibly hurt your case and your settlement. For example, in a normal setting, if someone were to ask, “Do you have the time?” most people would look at their watch, and say what time it is. That, however, does not answer the question that was asked, but instead provides additional information. In a deposition it would be better to answer, “Yes, I have the time,” and then let the lawyer follow up with a second question asking what time it is. It may seem impolite, but volunteering information can damage your case and your settlement, and you are not required to answer a question that was not asked.
Take a Break
Depositions can take hours, and answering questions can become exhausting. It is important to remember that you are allowed to take a break. Most lawyers are accustomed to one break per hour, and lawyers need breaks, too. Most will welcome a request to take a break because asking the questions can be just as stressful as answering them. If you want to take a break, it is important to ask for a break before a question is asked. If you ask to take a break after a question has been asked, you will be asked to answer the question before the break happens.