When you are injured and have to go to court to seek compensation for your injuries, it can be a confusing and stressful time. This stress can be exacerbated when you are unable to pay your bills and living expenses because you have not yet received compensation for your injuries.
It is an unfortunate thing that lawsuits take time, but a fast settlement is more likely when your deposition goes well. Sometimes, just knowing what the deposition process is will help ease any anxieties related to the process, and in turn, may help your case move forward more quickly.
What is a Deposition?
After a lawsuit is filed but before a case goes to trial, there will be a period of time set by the court to conduct what is called discovery. The purpose of discovery is to give everyone who is involved with the lawsuit a chance to investigate and learn what the facts of a lawsuit are. One of the tools a lawyer can use investigate the facts of a case is called a deposition.
A deposition is nothing to be intimidated by. A deposition is just a formal, in-person interview with everyday people who are involved in a lawsuit. A court reporter will be present to write down what is said by everyone at the deposition.
The person being interviewed, or as lawyers say, the person being deposed, will be under oath to tell the truth. Before your deposition begins, the court reporter will ask you to swear under oath that you will tell the truth. It is important to tell the truth because not telling the truth can give the lawyers on the other side a reason to go to trial instead of settling the lawsuit.
After you have agreed under oath to tell the truth, you will be asked basic personal questions regarding your name, your address, your phone number, what you do for a living, and other background information. After the basic background information is gathered, the lawyers who represent the other parties involved with the case will have an opportunity to ask questions related to your lawsuit. Sometimes the questions they ask may seem tricky, or you may not be sure what they are asking. That is okay, and if you do not understand a question or you are not sure what is being asked, you can say so and ask for the question to be clarified, or for the question to be asked in a different way. It is the lawyer’s responsibility to ask a clear question. Likewise, it is your responsibility to speak up if you do not understand what is being asked.
Sometimes a question will be asked that seems inappropriate or that you may think is damaging to your case. You should ask your lawyer how you should respond to such questions before you get to the deposition.
Most questions that are asked during a deposition will have to be answered, except in limited circumstances, but your lawyer will be there to protect you from any such questions. Your lawyer can also raise objections to protect your interests. Your lawyer will also be given an opportunity to ask you questions to clarify any issues or facts that are important to the lawsuit after the other lawyers have finished asking their questions.
Be sure to ask your lawyer any questions you have concerning the deposition process because he or she will have the most knowledge about the specific facts of your case. Your lawyer is there to help.