Some Tips for Your Personal Injury Deposition
While roughly 5% of personal injury cases go to trial, many more will reach the legal phase known as discovery. This is where the parties can gather evidence from each other, including document requests and witness examinations. One of the forms of discovery is something called a personal injury deposition, which is the process of giving sworn evidence.
If you’re a plaintiff filing a claim, the defendant’s attorney will be trying to get you on the record in a first attempt to lock down your testimony should the case ever go to trial. They will be questioning you aggressively, and you can count on them trying to trip you up by asking difficult questions. While the defendant’s attorney cannot harass you, do not expect them to ask the questions nicely. Oftentimes, the pointed questions will come after a long period of easier questions. They may lead up to it so that you won’t be able to anticipate the difficult questions.
A Long Marathon
A deposition can take up to seven hours. In other words, you can expect to be questioned for nearly an entire day. While you can take breaks as necessary, expect to be under the gun for a prolonged period where you will have to remain mentally sharp. This will mean that you could have at least an hour or two of continuous questioning during your personal injury deposition. If it appears that you are getting tired, your personal injury lawyer will request a brief break so you can rest or collect your thoughts.
Tell the Truth
Before your deposition begins, you are required to take an oath to tell the truth. Just make sure that you answer all questions honestly and to the best of your ability. While you are under oath and on the record, you are also not in front of a judge or jury. Your personal injury attorney will have prepared you ahead of time for your deposition. Therefore, you should have an idea of what questions will be asked.
Answer Only the Questions Asked
People tend to want to elaborate on their answers and give extensive responses to the questions. You should only elaborate on your responses when it is absolutely necessary. Other than that, it’s best to stick to what is asked of you and answer absolutely nothing more. In fact, the only time where you should generally answer with more than what’s asked of you is when you have been asked a misleading “yes or no” question.
When you speak too much at a deposition, you are only opening yourself up to further issues if you give inconsistent testimony when the case goes to trial. Make sure not to give the opposing counsel too much to work with by speaking too much. After all, you do not want to make their job easy for them in your personal injury case.
Let Your Counsel Defend You at Your Personal Injury Deposition
When you are at a personal injury lawsuit deposition, there may be objectionable questions. Your injury attorney will know what those are and object to any questions that violate deposition rules. Let your attorney speak up on your behalf, and do not waste energy or be hostile in responding to the other lawyer. Your attorney is your chief defender, so you should trust that he or she will protect you during your deposition. As long as you remain calm and under control and rely on the help of your personal injury lawyer, you should be able to handle whatever is coming your way in a personal injury deposition. If the defendant does not settle your personal injury case right away, a deposition is a necessary step in the process of receiving the financial compensation that you are due.
RAM Law is your source for a personal injury lawyer in New Brunswick. Contact us at (732) 247-3600 to set up your free consultation today so we can help you begin seeking compensation for your injuries. We also have an office in Somerville that can be reached at (908) 448-2560.