As a personal injury victim or survivor, it is likely that you may be subjected to a personal injury deposition, therefore making you a deponent. A personal injury deposition is intended to provide a platform for attorneys to ask questions, seek answers, and document the case.
All parties deposed are done so under oath, which means there can be legal repercussions for deponents who are dishonest during their deposition session. If you have just received a Notice of Deposition, or already aware that you will soon be deposed, it is important to educate yourself on what to expect and how to conduct yourself.
Continue reading to learn what you need to know about preparing for your personal injury deposition, including some important tips that will help you be as successful as possible.
How to Prepare For Your Personal Injury Deposition
The first thing you should do is meet with your attorney a few days prior to your deposition so you can review relevant documents in an attempt to help jog your memory to events that took place usually quite some time ago.
During your personal injury deposition, a court reporter will be recording the entire session. For this reason, it is important to focus closely on what you are going to say, and how you are going to approach every question. Anything you say at your deposition can be used later to challenge any inconsistencies in your testimony at trial.
Whether a plaintiff or defendant, a deponent can expect to be asked some basic questions. Such questions will likely be about their past medical history and personal injuries, their current employment, the specific event that gave rise to the lawsuit, who they’ve talked to about the case so far, there criminal history, their driving record, current physical status, and similar basic data that would be relevant to the case.
You can expect your deposition to take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, but in larger cases, it may take longer to reach completion. Arrive sometime before your session so that you may meet with your personal injury lawyer and discuss some important objectives before getting started. Be sure to dress in business casual attire, as if you are interviewing for a job or going to church.
Personal Injury Deposition Advice
► MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
As mentioned, it is important to dress accordingly for your personal injury deposition. Choose business casual attire, like something you would wear to a job interview or to your place of worship; and be well groomed.
► BE ARTICULATE
During your deposition session, it is important that you speak up, speak clearly, and enunciate your words well. Avoid using any slang or shortcut language, and oppositely, avoid using vocabulary that is too sophisticated or confusing. Be confident with your speech.
► CONDUCT YOURSELF AS A PROFESSIONAL
Just like planning your attire, it is important that you conduct yourself with the highest level of professionalism, as if you are at a job interview. Remember that a deposition is not a casual conversation, it is a question answer format. Keep your answers precise and efficient, and do not volunteer information that is not been asked of you. If the deposing attorney wants to know more on a topic, they will ask follow-up questions.
► DO NOT RUSH
Although it is important for you to be professional and speak up during your deposition session, it is equally important that you do not rush through it all. Be patient as you wait for the attorney to ask the question entirely, and then take your time thinking about what you want to say before you offer your answers.
► BE RESPECTFUL AND COURTEOUS
During your deposition, you will feel threatened or wrongly accused by the opposing attorney’s questions. No matter how you feel, maintain your composure and be as polite and respectful as possible. Avoid arguing with the attorney or using any sarcasm. This is very important during a personal injury deposition.
► DO NOT GUESS
You never want to play the guessing game in a personal injury deposition. If you don’t know the answer to something or cannot remember a certain detail, just say I do not recall. Your attorney does not want you guessing at your deposition because people get things wrong when they are guessing. As mentioned earlier, anything you say during your recorded session can be used later at your trial to challenge any inconsistencies the opposing attorney may have found. If the opposing attorney can get you to start guessing at answers to questions in a deposition, there will inevitably be inconsistencies because you are guessing.
Are you looking for personal injury help after being recently injured in an accident that was not your fault? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to meet with a seasoned Indianapolis Indiana accident attorney you can trust to recover the settlement you deserve. We represent victims all throughout the state of Indiana and Indiana residents injured in other states.
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