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What to Expect at Your Deposition | Parian Law Firm

Posted on - Monday, January 11, 2016 under FAQ

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you are not only a plaintiff, you’re also a witness. This means that more likely than not, you will have to attend a deposition.

Depositions are part of the “discovery” process. “Discovery” is the term used to describe the process and ways that parties to a lawsuit exchange relevant information, develop evidence to support their case, and investigate the circumstances of the accident and extent of the claimed injuries. This can involve exchanging written questions (called “interrogatories”) and answers, requesting and reviewing voluminous amounts of documents, and asking questions of the parties and witnesses under oath at depositions.

Where Will It Be and Who Will Be There

Depositions are usually held in a conference room at the offices of one of the attorneys in the lawsuit but can be held pretty much anywhere the parties agree to. In addition to yourself, your attorney will be there, along with the attorneys for each defendant and the attorneys for any other plaintiffs. It is also possible that the defendant may also appear, though that is the exception rather than the rule in most personal injury cases.

There will also be a court reporter at your deposition who will be transcribing every word spoken by you and any of the attorneys. Additionally, there may be a videographer there recording your testimony. Prior to your deposition, the court reporter will make you take an oath as you would before you testify in court. Your testimony at a deposition is just as much “under oath” as your testimony in a courtroom, and the penalties for lying in either

setting

are serious.

Questions and Objections

The attorney or attorneys for the defendant will ask you a whole bunch of questions about yourself, the incident at issue in the case, your injuries, and a whole bunch of other potential topics. As opposed to a trial, where the rules of evidence only allow certain questions to be asked, lawyers are given a pretty wide berth to ask questions at a deposition. If your lawyer thinks a question is improper, he or she may state an objection but still direct you to answer the question. Less often, your attorney may direct you not to answer. Any fight about whether the question was proper will be held later.

You may want to ask your lawyer a question at some point, he or she may want to discuss something with you or you may just want a break. All of that is fine, so long as a question isn’t pending.

Depo Prep

Prior to your deposition, your personal injury attorney will help prepare you for your testimony. He or she won’t be giving you answers or telling you what to say, but rather instructing you on how important it is to listen to the question being asked and to ask for clarification from the attorney asking you questions if something is unclear. While you need to answer all questions truthfully, your attorney will likely tell you to only answer the question that’s been asked rather than volunteer information.

An Interrogation, Not a Conversation

A deposition is not a conversation, and your responses to the opposing attorney’s questions, no matter how friendly the other lawyer may be, should not be the same as they would be in a normal conversation. A great example of the distinction between answers in a conversation and answers in a deposition is this:

Conversation:

Q: Do you know what time it is?

  1. Sure do. It’s 1:30.

Deposition

            Q: Do you know what time it is?

  1. Yes.

Note that the question wasn’t “what time is it?” It was simply a yes or no question; you either do know or don’t know what time it is. If you simply responded “yes” to that question to someone on the street and then just walked away, that would be rude. In a deposition, simply answering “yes” and leaving it at that is the correct way to answer.

Depositions are a crucial part of any personal injury lawsuit, and a good personal injury attorney will have you ready to go when it comes time for you to attend yours.

At The Parian Law Firm in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we represent injury victims exclusively and are committed to getting justice and compensation for our clients. Please contact us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.