10 Things Not to do in a Deposition
If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the compensation you need. Part of the Minnesota personal injury lawsuit process will be giving a deposition.
Depositions allow attorneys from both sides to question any witnesses that have pertinent information about the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident that caused the injury. Various parties can be deposed, including the injured party, the at-fault party, as well as any third-party witnesses. Depositions are important, and there are certain things that you should not do while being deposed.
There is no way to stress this too much. Depositions are given under oath, which means you must tell the truth. Anything you say in a deposition can be used in the courtroom, and you could face legal consequences for lying under oath.
2. Guess or speculate
Do not try to guess or speculate on information that you are not sure about. If you are unsure of an answer to the attorney’s question, say that you are unsure. If you are asked to guess, make it very clear that your answer is a guess.
3. Engage in casual conversations with the court reporter or other people present
Humans are social beings, and it can be natural to want to engage in conversation with other people present at the deposition. Please understand that everything you are saying is being recorded. Know that even casual conversation can help the other side learn valuable information about you that they can use against you.
4. Volunteer unnecessary information
Depositions often take a long time. They can be boring, and they can be stressful. This can throw a person giving a deposition off their game and lead to them answering more than what was asked. If you are not asked about something, do not volunteer any information.
5. Fail to carefully review documents
You may be presented with documents during your deposition, but do not assume they are accurate. Look at the document and let your attorney examine it. Be sure about the accuracy of any documents handed to you by the opposing side’s legal team.
6. Answer leading questions
The other side’s attorney may ask you leading questions in order to get you to say more than you would otherwise have said. A leading question is one that directs a witness towards a particular conclusion instead of simply asking the witness to give an answer. For example, instead of asking, “Where were you at 7:00 pm on March 20?” the attorney may ask, “You were with John Sanders that night, right?”
The second question leads the witness right into the answer. If you are asked a leading question, think about your answer and do not be led into saying anything you do not want to say.
7. Lose your temper
People can get angry in depositions and say things they would not otherwise have said. Remember, you are being recorded. Stay cool and collected.
8. Fail to take breaks
Take some breaks throughout the deposition period. These events can take a while, and taking a break can give you time to compose yourself and be ready for the next questions.
9. Joke with the other attorney
The other party’s attorney is not your friend. They are there to beat you. Do not joke with the other attorney, and do not make small talk with them.
10. Answer anything you do not understand
If you are asked anything you do not understand, take some time and ask for clarification if necessary. You can ask the attorney to repeat their question or explain it before you answer.