Silver Spring personal injury lawyer reveals Keys to Testifying Under Oath and Surviving a Deposition
4/16/2018If your case goes to the circuit court, it's likely that you'll have to give a deposition. So what's a deposition? A deposition is your sworn answers to questions by the lawyer for the other side. Plan on being at a conference table. You and we are on one side. Opposing counsel (and often the other party) are on the other side. A court reporter sits between you and records everything everybody says. A written transcript is then presented to you (generally a few weeks after the deposition is concluded). You read the transcript, note errors in transcription or perhaps other changes (if, for example, you remember something), and sign the transcript.
And remember this: in a deposition, your side cannot win; it can only lose.
In a deposition, there are only two basic rules: (1) "Tell the truth" and (2) "Answer the question."
The second rule has several components. It is deceptively simple and the hardest to apply. Here's what you must do:
• Hear and Understand the Question
• Wait for the Question
• Don't Guess
• Don't Ramble
• Do Not Volunteer Information!
• Don't Argue
• Don't Try To Think and Hit – Just Answer the Question
• Your Lawyer is There To Help
• If I Object, Stop Talking
• Your Deposition Is Not an Ordeal – Ask for Break if Needed
• To Err Is Human -- You Can Correct Any Misstatements
• Admit Being Prepared if Asked
• Don't Get Too Comfortable
• Take Your Time – Think Before You Speak
• Don't Be Afraid of the Question "Why?"
• Beware of Absolutes
• Ask to See the Document Before Answering
(These tips first published by Michael Starr in The Practical Litigator, March 1997)
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