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Two important ideas to keep in mind when answering questions in a deposition

continuing legal educationBy William J. Price

If you’re ever forced to file a lawsuit, there are many steps you’ll need to take with your lawyer before the claim can be resolved.

Before your case goes to trial, you’ll typically be asked to take part in a deposition. This step in the discovery process gives lawyers from both sides the opportunity to find out what their witnesses know about the incident and to make a record of these testimonies. The lawyers participating in the deposition will usually ask questions based upon the issues a jury will need to decide in a trial.

Your testimony during your deposition is critical and can have a major impact on the outcome of your case. While your lawyer will need to guide you through the questions you’ll be asked, there are two concepts you need to keep in mind when answering questions during your deposition:

  1. A deposition is like a job interview; your first impression is critical.

How you respond and your attitude towards counsel is as important as what testimony you provide. During the deposition, attorneys will test your composure by asking a belittling or scolding question. Your attitude and ability to handle such negativity will add value to your case or disclose a weakness. You must be prepared for this before you sit down to testify.

  1. The lawyer will try to determine if you’re willing to hide information.

Attorneys will touch on topics you may think are irrelevant, private or don’t deserve an answer. If you try to hide information from them, the opposing lawyers will use this argument at trial: “If the witness was willing to hide personal information, this witness is willing to hide information from you, the jury.” Work with your lawyer to determine how to handle these sensitive subjects and understand what information is discoverable.

Remember these two points before and during the deposition process. Following these principles will help make your testimony more valuable and support your case as you move towards trial.

About Elk & Elk Attorney William J. Price

William J. Price focuses his practice on personal injury litigation for people who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, defective products, negligence in construction sites, and trucking and auto accidents. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, AVVO, and is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Million Dollar Advocates Forum.