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How to Prepare for a Deposition

How to Prepare for a Deposition

Depositions are used frequently in Miami personal injury cases, and a deposition can make a world of difference in your case. It is important to know what a deposition is, how it affects your case, and how to prepare for a deposition. 

An experienced Miami personal injury lawyer can also help you handle a deposition as part of your case. Knowing what to expect is half the battle when a deposition is required during a civil lawsuit. 

What Is a Deposition? 

A deposition in a personal injury case is a question-and-answer session involving a witness (the deponent) and the attorneys on each side of the case. The deposition normally takes place in an office and not a courtroom. While a deposition is somewhat informal compared to a court hearing, a deponent’s words can impact a case just as much as courtroom testimony can. 

The deposition is taken under oath and with a court reporter present. Since every word spoken is transcribed, deposition testimony can be used as evidence in a trial. In a personal injury case, the deponent’s statements can be used for or against them. For these reasons, it is critical to be well-prepared and know how to approach a deposition. 

Why Are Depositions Taken? 

The defendant’s attorney might schedule a deposition for some of the following reasons: 

  • Gain knowledge: To see what you know about your case and what your recollection of the accident is.
  • Gather evidence: To find evidence that is favorable to the defendant’s case. This can happen when the plaintiff makes admissions or statements against their own interest. For example, if you admit that you took some action that contributed to the cause of the accident. 
  • To make you commit to statements under oath: If you describe an accident a certain way in your deposition, and your story changes at trial, the other attorney can then use your deposition testimony against you. 
  • To see how you might appear to a jury: Until a deposition, the defendant’s attorney only knows you as a name on a sheet of paper. At a deposition, they can see if you might appear sympathetic to jurors and if you would make a strong trial witness.

The defendant’s attorney might also report back to the defendant’s insurer about whether you made a strong or weak impression at the deposition. 

Be Prepared

Review the facts of your case with your personal injury attorney beforehand. This means addressing the facts that are helpful to your case and the facts that are potential weak spots in your case. You want to be able to describe the accident and your injuries in a confident and truthful manner. This shows the defendant’s attorney you have a strong case. 

Think Before You Answer

Listen to the full question being asked of you, and pause if you need to before answering. Too often, people will start answering a question while it is still being asked or scramble to say something without thinking it through. The defendant’s attorney will want you to blurt out comments and volunteer information that isn’t being asked. This strengthens their case and weakens yours. 

You are allowed to take pauses and breaks during a deposition. Don’t rush your answers just because you think you need to say something. 

Don’t Guess or Tell Half-Truths

If you don’t know the answer to a question, it is OK to say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember”. This is better than the alternative of trying to guess an answer or filling in the blanks with information that might not be true. Along these lines, make sure to stay true to your answers even when the other attorney tries to make you change your statements. 

Don’t Bring Documents to a Deposition

If you bring notes, logs, or other documents to a deposition, the opposing attorney may be entitled to see them. This could potentially reveal information that damages your case or waives attorney-client privilege in some situations. 

Relax and Be Calm

Remember that a deposition is a critical step in advancing your case toward a successful outcome and financial compensation for your injuries. Your only responsibility is to be honest and straightforward about what happened as you remember it. Your lawyer can handle the other details to make the deposition successful. 

An Experienced Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Prepare for a Deposition 

A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you recover after an accident. At times, this means filing a personal injury lawsuit and sitting for a deposition during your case. To learn more about your legal options after an accident, consult a Miami personal injury lawyer.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Miami, FL

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Miami, FL and need legal help, contact our Miami personal injury lawyers at Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers
20900 NE 30th Ave Suite 715
Aventura, FL 33180
(305) 937-0191