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What to Know Before a Deposition in Your Personal Injury Case


What is a deposition?

The purpose of this article is to inform plaintiffs of what to expect and how to conduct themselves during a personal injury deposition.  A deposition is a testimony given under oath. In this regard, it is similar to a testimony at trial.  A deposition happens before you go to trial.  The purpose of a deposition is to allow the opposing attorney to ask questions about matters he/she believes will be important at trial to get an idea of what you will say on the witness stand.

What happens at a deposition?

During a deposition, the opposing attorney will be able to ask about a wide range of things.  The attorney may ask about matters which have nothing to do with the case.  You will still need to answer and, more often than not, such questions and answers are not used in court.  If a topic is not related to your case, your attorney will object prior to the trial and allow the judge to decide. However, the judge is not at the deposition so any objections will have to wait until the trial date.

What to expect at a deposition?

The attorney’s questions and your answers are all taken down by a court reporter, who will type up everything that is said during the deposition.

During the deposition, we recommend that you follow these guidelines:

  • First and most important – tell the truth about everything!  Wait until a question has been completely finished before you give an answer.  The court reporter cannot type what two people are saying at the same time.
  • If you do not understand a question, as the other attorney to please explain what he/she means.  Your attorney cannot give you answers during the deposition.  Listen and answer carefully.
  • When you give your answers, speak clearly.  Do not shake your head for “yes” or “no” and do not use phrases like “uh-huh” or “uhn-uhn” because, as you can see, they are hard to read back!  A simple “yes” or “no” answer is best.  You should not volunteer information; however, do not hold back information either.  Simply do your best to answer the question clearly.
  • Remember, it will be the defense attorney’s job to ask about everything that is important.  If he/she doesn’t ask about something, don’t help the attorney do his/her job by volunteering information!  Since the testimony given in a deposition can be used at trial, be sure of your answers.  If you are not sure about something, either do not answer or make sure you state that you are not sure when you give your answer.

How to prepare for a deposition?

One of our roles as your attorney is to assist you in preparing for the deposition.  We’ll talk to you before your deposition and make sure that you feel confident to provide the necessary information at your deposition.  We will object to any unrelated questions that the opposing attorney asks.

What happens after a deposition? 

Many people are anxious about the deposition process.  This is understandable.  Knowing what to expect after the deposition is completed can be helpful.  First, a court reporter will prepare a transcript of the entire deposition.  This process may take a few weeks.

After the deposition transcript is created, both parties will have the opportunity to review and revise the transcript.  When a personal injury case goes to trial, it is imperative that information be accurate.  Carefully check the transcribed deposition for inaccuracies and errors.  Consult your attorney regarding any revisions.

At this point, your attorney will evaluate the deposition.  This part of the process will give a clear understanding of how the deposition will affect your personal injury case.  In some circumstances, other people will need to be enlisted in order to fill any gaps revealed by the deposition evaluation.

Your deposition can be used in the trial.  It will serve as a factual basis for allegations involved in your personal injury case.  Because depositions are recorded under oath, they can be used to impeach witnesses as well as to contradict their testimonies.

Nashville Personal Injury Attorney

Do you have questions about your upcoming deposition with our office?  Or have you recently been injured and need to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney before you talk to the insurance company or their attorney?  We understand that this can be a confusing process, especially if you have never been in this situation before.

Contact us to speak with an attorney today.  We offer FREE Consultations and are ready to help you!

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