12 Rules for Giving a Deposition in a Miami Personal Injury Case
February 2, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Personal Injury
Giving a deposition in a Miami personal injury case can be a daunting task. Nevertheless, with the right preparation and understanding of the process, it can be a valuable tool for building a strong case. There is certain advice that you should follow during a deposition to protect your rights and interests.
Tips for Giving a Successful Deposition
Follow the below advice to optimize your performance at a deposition. Speak with your lawyer about anything that you do not understand and any issue not covered below.
Prepare Thoroughly in Advance
This is the most important tip of all. The better you prepare, the better your performance will be and the less stressful it will be. You will need a lawyer to help you prepare. The best way to prepare is to have your lawyer play the opposing attorney and brutally cross-examine you. The more rigorously your lawyer cross-examines you, the better prepared you will be when the time comes.
No photos of your deposition will appear as evidence at the trial. So, strictly speaking, it doesn’t matter how you dress. Nevertheless, you will feel better if you dress professionally, and you will probably inspire the opposing lawyer to treat you with more respect.
Listen Carefully to the Questions, and Don’t Jump to Conclusions
You might think you know what the opposing attorney wants to ask you. Don’t assume that you do. Listen very, very carefully to each question, and don’t read anything into it. Answer the question exactly as the attorney asks it. If you don’t understand the question, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
Tell the Truth at All Times
Lying under oath is a crime known as perjury, and under certain circumstances, it is a felony. Perjury doesn’t include honest mistakes, but it does include deliberate lies that you might try to pass off as honest mistakes. The truth might not get you exactly what you want, but it is always better than a lie. Make the truth your ally, and you will have a very powerful ally indeed.
Don’t Let the Opposing Party’s Lawyer Ask Leading Questions
Don’t let the opposing lawyer get away with asking questions that contain embedded assumptions: ”Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” for example, or “Isn’t it true that…?” You can object to any inappropriate question.
Do keep in mind, however, that a lawyer can ask you certain questions at a deposition that they cannot ask you at trial. Trial questions must solicit admissible evidence. At a deposition, however, the attorney can ask you questions that are calculated to lead to admissible evidence.
Avoid the Narrative Fallacy
Storytelling is built into human nature. Nevertheless, the events that you remember probably won’t fit neatly into a story. Avoid the temptation to “fill in the blanks” with made-up facts. Be careful – –you can easily do this without realizing it. This is the narrative fallacy, and the opposing lawyer will be trying to bait you into committing it so they can discredit you. Good coaching from your lawyer can rid you of the temptation to turn facts into narratives.
Answer Only What You Know
The opposing lawyer has no right to treat you like an oracle. Nevertheless, it is almost certain that they will ask you some questions that you don’t know the answer to. Never try to guess the answer.
Don’t Nod or Shake Your Head To Answer a Question
Most of your deposition will count as evidence that both sides can use later at trial. This evidence comes in the form of a transcript of the deposition that the court reporter records. Shaking your head and nodding are gestures that don’t show up on a transcript. Even “uh-huh” will not show up. Answering in this manner is like not answering at all.
Insist on Examining Documents Before You Testify About Them
The opposing attorney might ask you questions about a document. If so, insist on seeing the document before you testify about it. If there is any discrepancy between the document you examine and the document as you saw it before, say so out loud. Your lawyer can help you file an objection.
Don’t Let the Opposing Attorney Intimidate You (But Don’t Get Angry)
You are going to need your confidence to withstand cross-examination by a hostile attorney. Public speaking, which is similar to what you will be doing, outranks death as most people’s greatest fear. Just remember, you have the truth on your side.
Be particularly careful not to let the attorney upset you. People say things they don’t really mean when they get upset, and that is exactly what the opposing attorney is hoping for. If you get upset and say something reckless, the opposing attorney will use it against you later.
Don’t Answer Any Question That the Opposing Attorney Didn’t Ask
Listen carefully to the question and answer only what was asked. Don’t volunteer any information, because that would be giving a gift to the other side. You might even be answering a question the other side is not legally allowed to ask.
Demand To See a Copy of the Deposition Transcript
You have the right to see a copy of the transcript of the deposition. Exercise this right by demanding to see a copy as soon as possible after the deposition. Correct any errors in the transcript, and tell your lawyer about these errors so they can file an objection if necessary.
The Earlier You Involve a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer, the Better
Whether you are a plaintiff, a defendant, or a third party, if you are involved enough in a case to fear being deposed, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you to navigate the process and keep you out of trouble.