What to Expect At Your Deposition
Pursuing justice through a lawsuit often means that you will need to sit for a deposition. The process can be daunting or intimidating for the unfamiliar. Fortunately, if you are well prepared for your deposition and have spoken with an experienced Ohio lawyer, you will have little to worry about. Thorough deposition preparation makes a big difference in the success or failure of your case. To be prepared, you must understand what occurs at a deposition and why we do them.
At the Henry Law Firm, we work closely with our clients to prepare for deposition. Read through this brief guide if you want to know what is a deposition, why they are done, and what you should expect. Additionally, we have also provided you with a few helpful pointers that you should know before attending your deposition.
What Exactly Is A Deposition?
A deposition is a formal question and answer session where a lawyer gathers information and facts about a case to form a transcript of your testimony. This session is conducted between a lawyer and a witness under oath and usually takes between one to two hours. Most depositions do not occur inside a courtroom but rather in a conference room or lawyer’s office, and there is no judge or jury present.
Depositions are recorded proceedings taken down in writing by a court reporter and used as evidence in the case. Depositions take the form of “cross examination,” meaning that you will be questioned by the opposing attorney – just as your attorney will depose the other side’s witnesses.
Why Are Depositions Done?
Depositions are done so that an opposing attorney has a chance to ask you questions about your case while you are under oath. They do this in the hopes that they will find favorable evidence that will benefit their client.
The testimony that you give at your deposition will also be used to pre-establish your answers to certain questions should your case eventually go to trial. If you change your answers at trial, the opposing lawyers will point out your inconsistent testimony to the jury. Thus, if you testify at your deposition, for example, that a traffic light was “yellow” and then at trial say it was “green” – the opposing lawyer will point out that your version of events has changed.
You should note that after you have attended your deposition, the defense attorney will contact the insurance company and alert them to whether or not you are a good witness. You want to be known as a good witness as it will increase the chances of your case settling before trial. There are a few other notable reasons why a deposition is conducted, and you will find them below.
- They are conducted to try and discredit your testimony or those of other witnesses involved in the case.
- They are done to uncover what you know about the case and collect all evidence possible.
- They are conducted by opposing attorneys to learn how you speak, what you look like, and how you behave. A lawyer will need to know more about you to establish how you will look to a jury.
What You Should Expect During Your Deposition
Before your deposition begins, you will be told to answer clearly, truthfully, and concisely with verbal responses to all questions. When the deposition formally starts, you will be questioned directly by the opposing attorney. After you have responded to the questions, any other attorneys involved in the case may have follow-up questions for you.
Your attorney will likely raise objections during your testimony. Typically, these objections are to later challenge a certain question or, more likely, the way a question was asked. Unless your attorney tells you not to answer the question, you will still need to answer even if your attorney has objected. Questions your attorney may advise you not to answer include harassing or repetitive questions.
During a personal injury deposition, the questions you are asked will usually fall within five categories that we have listed below. Although you cannot look to your attorney during your deposition for help answering, you can prepare with an attorney before the event.
- Personal information questions.
- Questions surrounding your prior physical condition.
- Questions about the incident.
- Questions about your injuries.
- Questions about how your life is after the accident.
10 Pointers You Need To Know Before a Deposition Testimony Is Conducted
Below are a few of the crucial pointers you should take to heart before attending your deposition, as they will help prepare you. Ultimately, the more prepared you are, the higher your chances of being classified as a good witness and of attaining a favorable outcome for your case.
- Clarify any points of confusion.
- Always only tell the truth.
- Answer all background questions accurately.
- Don’t rush when answering a question.
- Be aware of your conduct and appearance.
- Keep your emotions reigned in and avoid being aggressive, confrontational, or frustrated.
- Have prior knowledge of your medical records.
- Don’t exaggerate your injuries or state that you are still hurt if you are not.
- Only answer questions you are directly asked and don’t provide guesses to questions.
- Don’t let a defense attorney make statements on your behalf.
Get In Contact With an Ohio Attorney Today To Discuss Your Deposition and Learn How to Prepare For It
Depositions can be challenging to understand and can cause feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Fortunately, with the assistance of an Ohio lawyer, you can negate some of these feelings and get a better grasp on your legal situation. Should you choose to discuss your case with a lawyer at the Henry Law Firm we can help you prepare for your deposition. Don’t hesitate to get in contact as soon as you can so that we can work together to achieve a successful case outcome.