What Happens at a Deposition?
Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022 at 6:23 pm
A deposition is a chance for the lawyer from each side to ask each other’s clients questions under oath. Typically, depositions occur during the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit. It allows an attorney to obtain information about the case from the plaintiff or defendant.
Feeling anxious about your upcoming deposition is normal. You might worry about the questions the lawyer plans to ask and how you’re supposed to answer. Preparation is critical. Your personal injury attorney can help you craft appropriate answers to questions the opposing side might ask so you don’t say something that could negatively affect the outcome of your case.
Understanding the Elements of a Deposition
The lawyers can set up depositions for not only the plaintiff and defendant, but also to question expert witnesses, medical people who provided care to the injured person, and others. The point is for the defendant’s lawyer and the plaintiff’s lawyer to gather information to build evidence for their cases.
You will receive a notice of deposition informing you of the date, time, and location. Showing up is mandatory. However, your attorney can request a new date and time if the requested one doesn’t work for your schedule.
It’s unlikely you’ll receive the notice days before the scheduled deposition. Typically, the parties involved in a lawsuit have time to prepare. Your lawyer can meet with you in advance to talk about the case and help you discuss relevant details. They might walk you through a mock deposition, so you feel more comfortable with the process. Anticipating the questions the defendant’s attorney might ask could help you practice how to respond to each one.
Your lawyer should attend your deposition with you. They can’t answer the questions for you but will be there to ensure the questioning stays on track. They can object to any line of questioning they believe is irrelevant and ask the opposing attorney to move on to the next question.
You will meet with the opposing party’s lawyer or lawyers at the agreed-upon location. A court reporter will also be in attendance to record the deposition. The court reporter’s job is to type everything everyone says. That means every word that comes out of your mouth becomes evidence.
Questions the Attorney Could Ask During a Deposition
The defendant’s attorney can ask you any questions regarding the case. Since you are under oath, you must answer each question honestly.
Questions you can expect during a deposition include:
- Personal information – The lawyer will likely begin with basic details, such as your name, address, phone number, and other information regarding your background.
- Physical condition before the incident – A frequently-asked question is how you were physically before the accident and how your health changed after. The attorney wants to know how the accident affected your routine and life.
- Accident details – Most of the questions will likely involve the incident in question. The attorney wants to know how the accident happened, what you did in the immediate aftermath, whether there were any witnesses and other relevant details.
- Your injury – You will also discuss your injury. The attorney could ask about the type of injury you sustained and the treatment you need to heal. They might also ask how the injury impacts you financially, physically, and emotionally.
Answering Questions During a Deposition
Answering a question improperly or providing more information than necessary could damage your case. The defendant’s attorney’s goal is to find evidence to use against you. They want to convince the court that their client isn’t liable for your injury. That means they could use your words to prove you caused the accident, exaggerated the severity of your injury, or sustained the injury in a previous accident.
You should follow these tips while answering questions, so you don’t make common errors:
- Answer each question carefully – You don’t have to rush through the deposition. You can take time to think about the question and how you want to answer it.
- Ask questions – You can ask the attorney to repeat the question or clarify what they’re asking if you’re confused.
- State the facts – You should never speculate about the incident or provide an opinion about what happened. Only state factual information regarding the case.
- Don’t lie – You might feel tempted to embellish an answer or stretch the truth in your favor. However, lying under oath is a crime. You could lose the case if the opposing party discovers you lied during the deposition.
Abel Law Firm has represented injured clients since 1976. We pursue legal action on behalf of accident victims to hold others liable for their misconduct. You will have a dedicated and trusted legal team in your corner when you hire us. We will treat you as a priority and fight by your side until the end.