Unfortunately, not all cases can be solved without filing suit. As a case moves forward to the litigation process the client now has to become part of the legal proceedings. One of these proceedings is called a deposition. A deposition is an out-of-court oral testimony of a witness that is transcribed for later use in court or for the discovery process. This is a very important time for the victim of the incident. This is their opportunity to tell their story. However, it is also the defense attorney’s chance to question you about the event.
During a deposition, the client comes face to face with the opposition’s counsel. This can be a very nerve-racking time for the client and it can become intimidating. One may feel that the other side is trying to catch them in a lie or an inconsistent statement. That may be the case. However, the adverse attorney may just be trying to size you up and see how you would do in court. After the deposition they evaluate you. Do they believe you were telling the truth? Do they see you as someone that could appear likable to a jury? There are several factors that come into play.
It is important to remember that a deposition carries the same weight as if you were before a judge and jury. You are sworn in and under oath. You must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Opposing counsel can ask any questions they deem relevant to the case. Your attorney will be present and ready to object to improper questions but you must answer the questions under oath.
Because you are under oath it is absolutely imperative that you tell the truth! If you get caught in a lie you’re only hurting yourself. I tell my clients if you lie in a deposition you’re taking money off the table for your case. Juries hate liars and defense counsel will paint you as such if you are caught.
Depositions are necessary evils in the discovery process. While they can be intimidating at times it is important to stay calm, listen carefully, do not guess, and answer to the best of your ability. A good attorney will make sure you are well prepared prior to the deposition and make you feel comfortable. If you just stick to facts and what you know, depositions are a painless part of the legal process.