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Naples Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Legal Advice > Depositions related to a personal injury claim

Depositions related to a personal injury claim

Depositions are very important procedures because a deposition is usually the first time you will actually testify about your case. Depositions take place in the office of one of the lawyers involved in the case. In your deposition, the attorney for the defendant will ask you questions about your injuries, the incident, and background information about you and your family. Your answers will be taken down word for word by a court reporter that will transcribe your testimony. All attorneys, representatives of the insurance company, will read the transcript of your testimony and portions may be used at the trial.

Often, clients inquire about whether they are required to have their deposition taken or whether they may opt out of this. Unfortunately, you don’t have a choice. If you have commenced a lawsuit involving personal injuries, the law requires that you must be deposed if requested to do so by the other side.

If your lawyer decides it is necessary, a deposition of the defendant or defendants will also take place. In some cases, your lawyer may believe that it is better not to take a deposition. Your attorney will make that decision.

Your lawyer will assist you in preparing for your deposition. In most cases you will be given plenty of notice so that you will have time to prepare. In addition to advice given to you by your lawyer, you should consider the following:

  • Dress appropriately as though you were going for a job interview.

  • Read your interrogatory answers and any other documents your lawyer instructs you to read. Treat them carefully -don’t just skim through them. Preparation will mean a better chance of a favorable settlement.

  • Tell the truth even if you think the answer might hurt you. The worse possible answer is an answer, which is a lie. If the defense attorney catches you in a lie, he or she now has the opportunity to destroy your entire case.

  • Don’t argue with the defense lawyer.

  • Be polite. It can only help you and will never hurt you.

  • Listen carefully to the lawyer’s questions. Do not jump ahead and answer the questions before the lawyer finishes,

  • Think before speaking.

  • Don’t agree just because the defense attorney asks you to agree. Some defense attorneys use the trick of making several statements to which you agree. Then, they throw in a final statement, which may not be true, but because you are so used to agreeing, you admit something that you should not. Therefore, it is important to listen to each statement or question carefully.

  • If you do not understand a question do not answer. Rather state that you do not understand the question and ask if it can be re-worded.

  • If you do not know an answer to a question simply state “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” Do not guess or make up answers.

  • Don’t answer more that you have to. Some witnesses ramble on and on.

  • Rambling will destroy your case. Simply answer the questions and do not explain your answer unless you are requested to do so.

  • Look the defense attorney in the eye as much as possible.

  • Speak clearly.

There are several reasons why your deposition is important and it is important for you to understand this. The defense attorney will be sizing you up. If he or she is impressed with you and your testimony, settlement becomes more likely. The deposition is excellent preparation for trial. It gives you the opportunity to experience testifying. Your testimony, if it is false, can be used against you at trial.

For more information, call The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. at 239-649-8050 or contact us.

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