The Seven Do’s and Don’ts of Depositions
Legal Briefs: The Seven Do’s and Don’ts of Depositions
It’s true what you’ve heard on TV and in the movies. In a lawsuit, certain things said "can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
That’s why it’s critical to be aware of what you should and shouldn’t communicate if you’re ever involved in a lawsuit and required to participate in a deposition.
We shared what a deposition is in our post, “Legal Briefs: What is a Deposition.” Here are some important tips to help you complete a deposition if you’re ever called as a witness:
1. Be prepared with the facts. Witnesses can prepare to win or prepare to fail.
2. Tell the truth. Do not lie. You’ll be under oath so lying is committing perjury.
3. Take your time. A calm approach gives you more poise and control.
4. Answer “yes” or “no” if that fits the question. Answer fully. But be brief.
5. Answer one question at time. Don’t try to out-think the process.
6. Anticipate questions. Why are you being called? Prepare answers ahead of time.
7. Request a break. If you get flustered or tired, it’s fair to request a quick break.
1. Guess or speculate. “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember” is acceptable.
2. Be anxious or stressed out. It will affect what you say and how you appear.
3. Be defensive or angry. Never argue with the attorney.
4. Offer information not requested. Just answer the question.
5. Talk too much or ramble. Too much talking can harm your case.
6. Talk too little. Withholding key information can be as bad as saying too much.
7. Be too extreme. Using words like “never” or “always” may end up hurting you.
Attorneys on both sides know witness testimony can be the backbone of a case’s outcome so it’s important the witness’ tone and demeanor reveal coolness, confidence, composure, and conviction. Any other demeanor could hinder the case.
Amy Witherite, founding partner and commercial truck wreck attorney at Witherite Law Group, suggests, “One of a lawyer’s most important functions is to control the flow of information into and out of their cases. The deposition is an outstanding tool to do just that. Those at fault will typically try to redirect the case to demonstrate they aren’t at fault. Depositions allow us to confirm and highlight facts of the case and demonstrate the impact those facts have had on our client. As such, we take great care in making sure clients are prepared, comfortable, confident, and effective when discussing their case.”
The accident attorneys of Witherite Law Group help those who have been injured in a car or truck accident. Get legal help today by calling 1-800-CarWreck® or 1-800-TruckWreck or visiting www.WitheriteLaw.com. We’re available 24/7.