Depositions are an important part of the litigation process. Many people get nervous at the thought of coming into the office and being questioned by another attorney during the course of a lawsuit. I tell clients that the deposition should be relatively easy and it’s not like what they have seen on TV.
In a deposition, the defense attorneys are not standing on their feet, pointing at the plaintiff and saying “Isn’t it true…” In my experience, depositions are relatively informal (although they are under oath), and are quite easy, so long as the client listens to the questions and answers truthfully.
Even though depositions aren’t extremely difficult, a client should be thoroughly and properly prepared. Stark & Stark has an instructional video for clients to view before their deposition. In addition, the client is personally prepared by our paralegals and attorneys before the deposition.
For motor vehicle and slip and fall accidents, most depositions have a similar format. First, the so-called “rules of engagement” are discussed, including letting the deponent know he/she is under oath and therefore must answer truthfully and to the best of their knowledge. You should never guess at answers, although estimates are okay. From there the deposition typically delves into four or five different topics. They include the person’s personal background (age, employment, education, marital and family status, etc.), prior and subsequent accidents if any, how the current accident occurred, the injuries claimed and treatment received, and how the injuries have affected the person’s day to day life.