How To Prepare For A Personal Injury Deposition

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Last modified on May 30, 2024

How To Prepare For A Personal Injury DepositionPersonal injury depositionscan be intimidating. At Crantford Meehan, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will help you prepare for your deposition so that you can approach it with confidence. 

What to Expect at a Deposition

In a personal injury case, attorneys for both sides try to gather information about the case through a question-and-answer session known as a deposition. Depositions usually take place at the opposing attorney’s law office, not in courtrooms. The only people present are the deponent (the person being asked the questions), attorneys for both sides, and a court reporter who will keep a record of everything said. Judges and juries are not present for depositions.

How Long Does a Deposition Last?

The length of depositions in personal injury cases varies depending on the complexity of the case and the number of questions asked. Simple depositions may take as little as 30 minutes, while other depositions can last for several hours. A typical personal injury deposition lasts approximately one to three hours. You can ask for a break if you are tired. You may also take breaks to use the bathroom, get a glass of water, or talk with your attorney. 

What Do I Wear to a Deposition?

To make a good impression, dress professionally and conservatively. Some tips include:

  • Business Casual. Wear slacks (black, brown, or khaki are top choices) and a long-sleeved blouse or dress shirt. Dresses and suits are safe if they fit well.
  • Avoid Casual Clothing. Jeans, shorts, tank tops, spaghetti straps, and flip-flops are not appropriate for a deposition. Avoid clothing that is overly revealing.
  • Proper Fitting: Pick clothing that fits well and is clean. Clothes that are too tight or too baggy should be avoided as they can be distracting.
  • Grooming and Hair. Ensure your hair is neatly groomed and any facial hair is well-maintained. 

Common Deposition Questions

You can expect the other side’s attorney to ask you questions about your background, including:

  • What is your full name?
  • What is your date of birth?
  • What is your address?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What is your education level?
  • What do you do for work?

After answering routine questions about your background, the attorney will ask more detailed questions about the accident and your injuries. These include:

  • What were you doing on the day of the accident?
  • When and where did the accident occur?
  • Can you describe what happened?
  • What injuries do you claim you received from the accident?
  • Did you receive medical treatment for your injuries?
  • Did the injuries stop you from going to work?

How to Best Answer Tough Deposition Questions

Anticipating how to answer challenging questions will bolster your confidence for the deposition. Follow these guidelines:

  • Be Honest and Accurate. It’s essential to always tell the truth during a deposition. Providing misleading or evasive answers can make you seem untrustworthy and can negatively impact your case. Stick to the facts and avoid exaggeration.
  • Listen to the Entire Question. Always wait to answer until you’ve heard the whole question. If you answer too quickly, you may misunderstand the question and give an inaccurate answer.
  • Think Before Speaking. Pause briefly to think about your answer. Even if a question seems straightforward, give yourself time to assess the question and organize your thoughts before answering.
  • Keep Your Answer Brief. Give your answer in a short, concise, and clear manner. Do not volunteer information that is not being asked or wander into details that do not answer the question posed. “Yes,” “no,” and “maybe,” are acceptable answers in a deposition.
  • Do Not Guess Answers. You may not know the answers to some questions. It is okay to answer, “I don’t know.” If you guess, you may give inaccurate or misleading information.
  • It Is Okay to Say, “I Don’t Remember.” If you do not recall something, say so. Do not speculate because you think you should remember a particular fact.
  • Speak from Personal Knowledge. Do not offer information that you heard from other sources. The only information that you should provide is information that you experienced firsthand or know to be the truth.
  • Ask for Clarification. If you do not understand a question, ask the attorney to clarify. You can say, “I don’t understand the question. Can you please rephrase it?” 

Stay Calm During a Deposition

Depositions can be nerve-racking. The best advice is to take deep breaths and respond to each question thoughtfully. Be sure to take a moment to pause before answering. This will help calm your nerves. The process of thinking about the question can also help you stay focused and relaxed. If you feel overwhelmed or anxious, ask your attorney for a break. 

How to Win a Deposition

Although the primary goal of a deposition is not to win but rather to give truthful testimony, there are ways to bolster your position. Cooperate, be respectful, and maintain a professional attitude. Rely on your attorney’s counsel and proficiency to navigate any obstacles that may emerge.

Deposition Preparation Tips

The best deponents take time to review the facts of their case. In a personal injury case deposition, you should be able to describe how the accident occurred, how you were injured, and what medical treatment you received.

personal injury lawyer and client preparing for deposition

Tips to keep in mind when preparing for your personal injury deposition:

  • Familiarize yourself with the deposition process.
  • Review your medical records and the accident report.
  • Practice responding to questions with a mock deposition or role-playing exercises.
  • Arrive at your deposition 15 minutes early to get yourself settled.
  • Meet with your attorney before the deposition to review your case.
  • Communicate openly with your attorney about your concerns.

Need Help Preparing for a Deposition in South Carolina?

If you have questions on preparing for your deposition, the personal injury lawyers at Crantford Meehan are happy to answer them. We have years of experience helping people who were injured by the wrongdoing of others, and that experience includes preparing for hundreds of depositions. We can help you get ready to be deposed and stand by you throughout the deposition.

Contact us online or call us at (843) 396-3840 for a free consultation today.

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