How To Prepare for a Deposition

One of the important stages of a personal injury lawsuit is the pretrial discovery process. During discovery, each party gathers and exchanges evidence. Discovery is a court-supervised process that gives parties several legal weapons they can use to obtain information that is in the possession of the other party. The deposition is one of those legal weapons.

How Do Depositions Work?

A critical component of evidence in a personal injury case is the contents of the minds of each party’s witnesses, including lay witnesses and expert witnesses. The purpose of a deposition is to gather relevant testimony by cross-examining the opposing party’s witnesses. The idea is that “trial by ambush” is unfair and that each party should have access to the testimony of the opposing party’s witnesses before trial. 

As a deposition witness, you will answer questions presented to you by the opposing party’s lawyer. Your testimony will take place out of court, but it will be under oath. The deposition will probably take place in a law office. A court reporter will attend, but the judge will almost certainly be absent. You can (and should) bring your lawyer with you. 

Since the rules of evidence are relaxed at a deposition, the opposing party’s lawyer may ask you questions they could not ask at a trial. If you are like most people, your deposition will not be any fun. 

Steps to Take to Prepare for a Deposition

The following is a list of the minimum steps you should take to prepare for a deposition:

  • Familiarize yourself with the deposition process: Personal injury cases often involve detailed questioning about your injury, your medical treatment, and the impact of your injuries on your life.
  • Review all relevant documents, including your medical records, correspondence with insurance companies, accident or police reports, and any photographs.
  • Understand the details of your case, including the dates of your medical treatment, the details of how your injury occurred, and any relevant events that occurred before and after your accident. Although making an honest mistake is not illegal, a deliberate falsehood about an important matter can be a crime. The best way to avoid a false accusation of perjury is to get your facts straight in advance.
  • Ask your lawyer to grill you repeatedly in rehearsal. Your lawyer should “put you on the hot seat” with aggressive questioning. Practice over and over again until you feel accustomed to this kind of pressure. Your lawyer should know exactly which questions to ask.
  • Ask your lawyer to provide you with a list of questions that the opposing party’s lawyer is likely to ask you so that you can prepare for them in your spare time.
  • Practice pausing before you answer. This may not feel natural, especially if the opposing party’s lawyer is attempting to pressure you. The more you practice, the more it will become second nature to you. Pausing before you answer gives you time to think.
  • Don’t volunteer any information. Answer only the questions asked, and do not exceed the scope of the questions with your answers. Stay on topic.
  • Maintain your composure: Ask your lawyer to bait you during rehearsal so you can practice keeping your cool under pressure.
  • Seek clarification of any question you don’t clearly understand. Promptly correct any mistakes you make. Don’t worry too much–you’re bound to make a few mistakes.
  • Talk strategy with your lawyer. Make sure they ask you tricky questions during rehearsal and have them advise you on how to handle them.

You need to know all of the information about your case by heart. If you bring notes to the stand with you, the opposing party might have the right to read them. The harder you work to prepare, the more smoothly your deposition will go.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Prepare for a Deposition?

Yes, you need a lawyer, both during the preparation stage and at the deposition itself. Be sure to seek help from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to protect your rights before, during, and after the deposition.

Contact The Personal Injury Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information

If you’ve been injured in San Diego or Chula Vista, please call Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.

We proudly serve San Diego County and throughout California.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108

(619) 777-5555

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – Chula Vista Office
690 Otay Lakes Rd #130, Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 722-3032

We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – El Paso Office
201 E Main Suite 106, El Paso, Texas 79901
(915) 591-1000