Hasner Law | Personal Injury | March 15, 2023
Depositions are an integral part of any personal injury case, as they provide both parties with an opportunity to gather important information prior to trial. It is essential for anyone involved in a personal injury lawsuit to understand how depositions work and why they are so important.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is a formal meeting between attorneys and witnesses where sworn statements about the case are taken. Because it is under oath, any statement made during a deposition can be used as evidence in trial proceedings.
Why Are Depositions Taken?
Depositions are taken for several reasons. First, they provide an opportunity for attorneys to speak directly with parties prior to trial. This allows them to ask direct questions and gain insight into their case before taking it further.
This also prevents major surprises from occurring during trial proceedings.
Additionally, depositions are a way for lawyers to see how witnesses will perform during testimony. During a deposition, attorneys may ask questions that challenge or discredit the witness’s statement or testimony. This allows the lawyer to gain insight into how the witness responds to confrontation and how their testimony may be perceived by a jury.
Preparing for Opposing Counsel’s Questioning During a Deposition
When preparing for a deposition, it is important to understand the tactics that opposing counsel may use to try and discredit your case.
Opposing counsel may attempt to emphasize the strengths of their case while ignoring or explaining away any weak points. Be aware of this tactic and remain vigilant in providing factual information throughout your testimony.
Additionally, opposing counsel may try to ridicule or contrive ways to suggest that you are not telling the truth. You must remain calm and composed during these questioning periods; don’t be reactive – that’s what opposing counsel wants.
Opposing counsel may also utilize confusing or leading questions in order to get certain admissions from you during your testimony.
This type of questioning requires careful thought before responding to prevent any misstatements from being made which could potentially harm your case.
When answering questions from opposing counsel, answer directly and succinctly while remaining mindful of any potential implications your answers could have on your case as a whole.
You should always prepare with your lawyer beforehand.
Additional Deposition Tips
Being deposed can be an intimidating experience. But if you are prepared and know what to expect, it doesn’t have to be. The following are some other important tips that will help you be ready for your deposition:
Understand the Questions Before Answering
Make sure that you fully understand each question before responding, and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if needed. This will help ensure that your answers are accurate and complete.
Do not embellish or omit facts, as this could lead to serious consequences down the line. If you do not remember something or have difficulty recalling specific details at any point during the deposition, say so. Don’t try to answer something you don’t know.
Be Prepared for Irrelevant Questions
It is possible that during a deposition, an attorney may ask questions about topics unrelated to your case, such as your family or hobbies. This is done to test your ability to remain composed under pressure.
While these questions may seem irrelevant at first glance, you should still answer them honestly and politely unless you are told otherwise.
Take Breaks When Needed
Depositions can last several hours. Taking breaks throughout will help keep your energy levels up and allow you to stay focused on what needs to be discussed and answered without getting overwhelmed by long stretches of questioning. Make sure to take frequent restroom breaks throughout your deposition as well as regular breaks for water or snacks if needed.
An Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Prepare for Your Deposition
If you need help preparing for a deposition or have questions regarding the process, contact an attorney for assistance. For more information, please contact the Atlanta personal injury law firm of Hasner Law P.C. at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.