In today’s world, the deposition may be the only time in a personal injury case that the plaintiff gets to tell his/her story. Many cases settle shortly after depositions, and a good deposition can show attorneys and insurance adjusters just how good your case is.
On the opposite side, a bad deposition can turn a great case into a loser, or at least into an uphill battle. The deposition is a critical part of personal injury proceedings, and it can definitely and severely affect the outcome of your personal injury case. As such, it is important that you prepare for your deposition under the guidance of an experienced warrior personal injury lawyer.
During the deposition, you will have to answer questions from the defendant’s attorney. As the Legal Information Institute explains, the deposition is part of the discovery phase. A court reporter will record a transcript of your deposition, and the court can later refer to it. Deposition testimony is typically hearsay and is thus inadmissible at trial, but the court may still use the transcripts to identify any discrepancies and follow up with either party regarding any inconsistencies in question.
Although your legal team cannot coach you on your answers, they can answer any questions you may have regarding the discovery phase and help you prepare for your deposition, so you know what to expect. If you would like to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer in the Chicagoland area, turn to Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm.
Your warrior personal injury lawyer will help you prepare for your deposition. Below are 4 tips to keep in mind through out the deposition process to ensure the best outcome.
If attending a deposition, it is in your best interests to be represented by a warrior personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will help you by preparing questions that may be asked at your deposition and then going over them with you. This will help you be comfortable with answering common questions about your case and also prepare you to give truthful answers that benefit your case. It may also be helpful to revisit the scene of the accident to refresh your mind of what happened, and where exactly it happened, before the deposition.
Before a deposition, it is common to provide the opposing party answers to questions through written interrogatories. Any information provided to opposing counsel before the deposition, including answers to interrogatories, should be looked at again to make sure that your verbal answers match your written ones. Reviewing all the information for your case and preparing your statements for questions that may be asked before a deposition is essential. It is also important to remember that nothing in the deposition is entirely irrelevant and that even questions that seem to come out of left field have to be taken seriously and answered seriously.
The deposition will follow a standard question and answer format. It is not supposed to be conversational, and you should not volunteer any information that the opposing party’s counsel does not ask for directly. Be brief and responsive. The best answers are very short answers. If you don’t know or don’t recall an answer, you may simply say just that. Be sure to speak clearly. Do not be rude, lose your temper, or mumble your answers during your turn to speak.
You can avoid compromising your case by remaining professional at all times. Dress and act appropriately for the situation. Do not joke around or make small talk during the deposition because it can only harm your case. After the Deposition is over, do not chat with the opponents or their attorneys. Remember, the other attorney is not your friend, and not there to help you.
On rare occasions, depositions can become heated and confrontational. Resist the urge to argue and, if necessary, ask for a brief break to collect yourself. Do not let the opposing attorney get you angry or excited. This destroys the effect of your testimony and you may say things which could be used to your disadvantage later. Under no circumstances should you argue with the opposing attorney. Give him/her the information in the same tone of voice and manner that you do your own attorney. Your goal should be to remain calm, courteous and professional.
Telling the truth during a deposition is important. Trying to give the “right answer” when it is not true will not help you in the end, and you will be lying under oath. Answer all questions to the best of your knowledge. Do not attempt to fabricate an answer when you are confused or uncertain. You are allowed to say “I do not remember” or “I do not know” if either is true. Do not worry if you believe the response may be harmful and do not try to “fool” the other attorney. He or she has likely done a great deal of investigation already, and may simply be trying to “trap” you into providing an inaccurate response. Also, be careful estimating distances and how long something may have taken unless you are very sure of the answer. It’s important to know that your credibility is the most important thing in the case, and even a minor exaggeration can destroy it.
Listen Carefully And Answer Carefully
Listen to the entire question before you answer. If a simple “yes” or “no” will suffice, then do not elaborate. Your answers should be accurate yet as brief as possible. Listen carefully to the question and understand exactly what is being asked. Take your time in answering every question. Remember, if you do respond, you may forever be “stuck” with that answer. If any question is unclear, or you are not sure of the answer, you have the right to ask for the question to be rephrased or repeated. You should not guess at any answer. You should also quantify your injuries whenever you can. Provide details about your symptoms, and describe your pain on a scale of 1 to 10. If you are unsure how to describe your pain, consider the differences between words like dull and sharp, constant and intermittent, and throbbing and steady.
If you think of a more accurate answer later in the deposition, be sure to advise the examiner that you want to return to a previous question to make your answer more complete. After the deposition, if you realize that you made a mistake, tell your attorney so he or she can supplement your deposition in the manner allowed.
Deposition? Call Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm!
Personal injury law is complicated, and the deposition is just one component of the proceedings. A warrior personal injury lawyer from Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm can help you navigate the personal injury process and avoid costly mistakes. We will help you every step of the way, from guiding you through the deposition process to handling your case in the courtroom if that’s what it takes to get you the recovery you are entitled to. With over 25 years of experience and a bilingual staff, Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm is dedicated to providing you with the aggressive legal representation you need. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, contact Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if we win your case! Contact Chicago Injury Legal at The Romaker Law Firm at 312-377-7000 and learn more about your case today!