Strategies For Giving A Successful Deposition

If you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, how you answer questions at the deposition can help determine whether the case will go in your favor should it go to trial. For cases settled out of court, how well the deposition goes can affect how much of a settlement you will receive.

Therefore, you can increase your chances for a successful outcome by knowing how to handle answering questions at the deposition:

  1. Go to the deposition prepared. Knowing who will be present, what documents to bring with you, and what types of questions you can anticipate may relieve some of your anxiety and help you keep a clear head.

  2. Listen carefully to the questions the opposing counsel asks you. Allow the attorney to finish asking the question before you answer. Then pause and think before you answer. When you answer, use a full but short sentence. When you are being deposed, you can't change an answer once you give it; therefore, don't answer until you've clearly formulated in your mind what you want to say.

  3. Tell the attorney questioning you if you don't understand a question he or she is asking. Simply not knowing the meaning of a word in a question can hurt your case if it leads to you misunderstanding what the question is asking and you give an inappropriate answer. If necessary, ask the attorney to repeat or rephrase the question.

  4. Don't guess at answers. Opposing counsel often fish for more information and may ask you to speculate. Remain calm when an attorney asks broad, open-ended questions in an attempt to distract or confuse you. If you don't know the answer, simply say so.

  5. Avoid saying more than you have to when answering a question. Give brief, honest answers, being careful not to offer too much information. Volunteering information can give the attorney questioning you more to use against you.

  6. Don't give simple "yes" or "no" answers as they can be misleading. The attorney may assume you mean one thing when you mean another. In some cases, you may have to point out that a question requires further explanation. If so, politely ask if you may explain.

  7. Remember you are giving testimony under oath and anything you say will be "on the record." Opposing counsel can summarize on the record any statements you make during the deposition, including statements you make when attorneys ask that a particular discussion take place "off the record".

  8. Ask to see the medical record or physician report to which the opposing attorney may be referring. It helps to know beforehand what is in your medical records, particularly if a report contains information that relates to medical complaints you may have had before the accident. Medical records also sometimes include subjective interpretation that may require followup questioning of the medical professionals involved.

To learn more, contact a company like Boucher Law Firm with any questions you have.