When an injured person is seeking compensation from a negligent party in a personal injury lawsuit, for example a lawsuit involving a motorcycle accident or a head injury, one of the initial phases of the process will involve the pre-trial process during which both sides (the plaintiff and defendant) gather evidence. A key part of this discovery process includes taking depositions from not only the witnesses in the case but also from the plaintiff and defendant(s) themselves. Depositions are statements that are:
- Given under oath
- Recorded by a court reporter and also are often videotaped or tape recorded
- Available to both sides of the lawsuit to use against the other side later during the trial process.
Given the importance of depositions, it’s critical that those who will be sitting for one are thoroughly prepared so they can present the strongest possible case while minimizing the chances that their statements could be used to weaken their case. The following are some things to remember as you work with your experienced personal injury lawyer to prepare for a deposition:
- Do not go into a deposition with the mindset that you are going to be interrogated – Depositions are not the same as a trial process when an opposing side’s attorney will likely try to trip you up; instead, depositions are more investigative, as both sides are trying to uncover all of the evidence in the case (rather than using evidence against you).
- Depositions can last for hours or even days – Go into your deposition with the mindset that you will be answering questions for a long period of time. Make sure that you are as rested and calm as possible attending your deposition and plan to sit there responding to questions for a full day. Having a realistic idea of how long you will be questioned can keep you calm and clear headed, which will help you provide the best possible answers to questions you are asked.
- Attend the deposition with your attorney – An experienced personal injury attorney wouldn’t dream of letting his client attend a deposition on his own, as the lawyer will not only provide support but will also be looking out for your rights (and can object when the other side has gone too far).