Battle Born Injury Lawyers | January 28, 2023 | Personal Injury
Most personal injury cases settle through negotiations with the at-fault party or their insurance provider. However, if you file a personal injury lawsuit, you might be required to provide a deposition. Your Las Vegas injury lawyer works with you to prepare for the deposition, including discussing what to do and what not to do during a deposition.
What Is a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?
Depositions are testimony under oath taken outside of a courtroom. The person giving testimony at a deposition is the deponent. A court report places the deponent under oath and records the entire deposition to create an official record.
The lawyer for the other party asks questions during the deposition. The questions are designed to gather additional evidence the party can use to prove their case.
Furthermore, the deposition sets your testimony for the case. If you change your testimony at trial, the attorney uses the testimony from the testimony to impeach you on the stand.
In some cases, depositions are used to secure eyewitness testimony in the event the witness cannot testify in court because of an illness, injury, or death. Depositions also help gather facts while the information remains fresh in a person’s memory.
A deposition typically occurs at one of the lawyer’s offices. However, the parties could agree to another location for the deposition. For example, if the parties travel to depose an expert witness or eyewitness, they might hold the deposition in the conference room of a business or another law firm.
12 Rules To Remember When Giving a Deposition in Your Personal Injury Case
It is common to be nervous if you have never given a deposition or testified in court. Try to focus on what your personal injury attorney discussed with you when you prepared for the deposition. Also, remember these 12 things about depositions:
Listen to Each Question Carefully
Focus on the questions the attorney asks. You do not want to answer a question incorrectly because you are not paying attention.
It can be difficult to remain focused when you are tired or hungry. Therefore, make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before the deposition and eat a healthy meal.
Always Tell the Truth
Never lie during a deposition. Your testimony is given under oath and carries the penalty of perjury. Lying during a deposition or exaggerating the truth makes you appear untrustworthy, which can be used against you at trial.
Never Guess or Estimate
Avoid estimating or guessing at the answers to questions. If you do not know the answer, state that you do not know, or you need to check your notes to provide an accurate answer. Be careful when answering questions asking for measures, time, amounts, and locations because those questions require exact responses.
Only Answer Questions Asked
Do not provide information the attorney does not ask for during the deposition. It can be difficult to stop talking when you believe you have a point to make or you can convince someone of your position. Instead, answer the question asked and stop talking.
Ask for Clarity if You Do Not Understand the Question
Never answer a question that you do not understand. Instead, ask the attorney to clarify the question if you do not know exactly what information the attorney wants. Ask for clarification as many times as necessary until you understand the questions.
Remain Calm, and Do Not Let the Lawyer Rattle You
An attorney might try to make you nervous or angry to get you to say something you would not otherwise say. Therefore, focus on remaining calm. If you begin to feel angry or upset, ask for a short restroom break.
Do Not Become Trapped With Continuous Yes or No Questions
Some attorneys ask several questions they know will be “yes” or “no” responses. The reason is the attorney intends to ask a question that he wants you to answer with a “yes” or “no” response.
Asking several questions with the same response can cause a person to stop paying close attention to the questions asked. Instead, the person begins to automatically respond with the same word.
Watch for Leading Questions
Attorneys ask leading questions to put words in your mouth. Do not answer a question that presents a scenario or set of facts.
For example, the attorney might ask, “Did you notice the car in the left-hand lane as you when though the caution light?” If you focus on remembering whether there was a car in the left-hand lane, you might answer without realizing you just admitted to running a yellow light.
Ask for Breaks When Necessary
You can ask for breaks whenever you need to use the restroom or take a break. If you begin to feel tired, anxious, or upset, it is a good time to ask for a break. Take a few moments to calm down and refocus your thoughts.
Depositions are not held in a courtroom before a judge. However, you should dress as if you were going to court.
A suit might not be necessary. Typically, casual business clothing is suitable. If you are unsure how to dress for the deposition, talk to your Las Vegas personal injury lawyer.
Remain Professional and Courteous
Even though the attorney might represent the party you are suing, you should not act hostile or rude during the deposition. Be courteous and professional. The attorney should treat you with the same respect.
Do Not Tell Stories
Lawyers love for deponents to tell stories. The more a deponent talks, the more likely the person might say something the attorney can use against them.
A deposition is not the time to tell stories. Keep your answers short and to the point. You can clarify your response without going into unnecessary details.
Preparing for a Deposition in a Las Vegas Personal Injury Case
Your lawyer is in the room with you during the deposition. However, your attorney cannot answer questions for you or tell you how to respond to a question.
Therefore, your attorney prepares you for the deposition in advance. Depending on the situation, the attorney might ask you questions they expect the other lawyer to ask during the deposition. You discuss your response to ensure you understand what is being asked for and how to avoid pitfalls.
If you are concerned, talk with your attorney before the deposition. In addition to providing legal advice, a personal injury lawyer is there to provide support and guidance to help you navigate the process.
Contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident in Las Vegas and you need legal assistance, contact our personal injury attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers and schedule a free consultation with our legal team.