by Greg Hach
Chances are you’re reading this because you searched ‘what to expect at a deposition’ or perhaps ‘how can I prepare for a deposition.’ If you did, you might have lost some faith in your current attorney because you should never feel scared about the process or unprepared for questioning at the deposition. You should also never be uncomfortable telling your attorney you feel this way. When preparing for your deposition, you should feel confident that your attorney has helped you become thoroughly prepared.
For most clients, the prospect of giving a deposition is frightening. It is important to remember that it is the most important aspect in most cases. Without exception, it enormously influences the outcome of your case and the financial compensation you will likely receive.
How to Prepare for Your Deposition
Preparing for your deposition is critical. It shouldn’t be rushed and crammed in before, but should never be done too far in advance.
The week of the deposition is usually the best time to prepare. You should understand that depositions are not conversations; instead, it is a series of questions and answers that take place under oath and penalty of perjury.
Common Deposition Mistakes to Avoid
One mistake people make in depositions is offering too much information or discussing things they were not specifically asked about. This natural tendency for many people is often enhanced when they feel pressured or rushed.
You should always listen to the attorney’s question and specifically answer only the question posed. The client should never answer a question they don’t understand, nor should they guess the true meaning of the question.
For instance, if asked, “How many feet were you from the intersection when you first saw the defendant’s vehicle?” If you don’t know, it is perfectly acceptable to respond, “I do not know.”
‘I do not know’ is a perfectly acceptable answer to most questions you will be asked.
Avoid absolutes such as ‘I can never exercise again’ and do not use misleading or inappropriate language. It is also not an endurance test; if you require a break (or five breaks, for that matter), turn to your attorney and request one. Answer only what you know to be factually correct, and you don’t need to know the answer to every question. Most people tend to want to answer specific questions because they subconsciously believe they should know the answer. Always resist this temptation.
Your attorney should review your medical records with you to ensure no contradictions in your testimony and review any preexisting conditions that apply to the lawsuit. If you deny a prior injury and the defendant’s attorney produces a relevant medical record, it could damage your credibility and, ultimately, your financial recovery. Reviewing and verifying all claims for lost wages, lost time from work, and any other claim that the opposition can confirm is essential.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Case
The importance of the deposition to the plaintiff’s case cannot be overstated. If you are questioning whether you were adequately prepared, it’s not too late to do something about it.
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we always discuss such issues with clients unsatisfied with their present counsel. Sometimes there is a valid reason why their prior attorney handled something in a way that shook their client’s confidence. In such cases, we always discuss that reason with you.
If the case is handled properly, we suggest you remain with your attorney. However, more often than not, we find that a prior attorney is not doing justice to their client or meeting that client’s needs.
When this is the case, it costs the client nothing to ask our firm to take over the lawsuit. It is important to remember that as a client, you have just one “bite at the apple.” Make it count, and don’t allow poor legal representation to jeopardize your chance at obtaining the financial result you deserve.
Contact an Attorney for Help in Preparing Your Deposition
If you’re unsure what to do, call our firm for a completely confidential, pressure-free discussion and evaluation of your specific circumstances. We want to ensure you feel confident and prepared for your upcoming deposition. You felt strongly enough to search for what to expect from your deposition. Now all you need to do is call the personal injury attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 to get all the information you need.