What is a Deposition?

— By John Merrick —

Your deposition has been scheduled – now what? A deposition is part of the discovery process, when an attorney gets to ask a person questions under oath. Here are the most important things to remember if you are deposed:

  1. The defense attorney is trying to figure out if a jury is going to like you (and believe you) or not; because if the jury likes you, you have a better chance of an excellent outcome. When the deposition is over, the attorney is going to write a report for the insurance company. You want the report to say that you are likeable, credible, and sympathetic. That will increase the settlement value of your case. Be kind, thoughtful and polite.
  2. You cannot win your case at a deposition, but you can hurt your case or even lose it. The witnesses who tend to harm a case at their deposition are the ones who think they are going to teach the defense attorney a lesson. Don’t try it – see number 1.
  3. The defense attorney is allowed to ask questions that may seem pointless or irrelevant. If they take it too far, I can step in and stop it; but that is very rare. Be patient and answer the question. See number 1.
  4. I may object occasionally. I am doing this to preserve an argument to raise later with a judge. Don’t let it distract you or affect your response. You may answer the question unless I tell you not to answer the question (which is very rare).
  5. You will do well if you can follow these rules:
    1. Tell the truth.
    2. Listen to the question and make sure you understand it. (If you don’t understand a question or you didn’t hear it – ask the attorney to rephrase it).
    3. Just answer the question and stop talking. It sounds easier than it is; most people can’t do this. Remember you are there to answer questions only, not to explain yourself or help the attorney understand your position.
    4. Don’t guess or speculate. If you don’t know the answer – say “I don’t know.” If you don’t remember the answer – say “I don’t recall.” Those answers can rarely hurt you, but guessing can cause lots of problems. If you did not see it – hear it – touch it – feel it – smell it – chances are your answer is “I don’t know.”

If you have any questions about a case, call accident lawyer John Merrick at 804-464-7719.

What sets Merrick Brock apart from most other personal injury attorneys, is that we each handled cases for the defense / insurance carriers for over a decade. We’ve tried dozens of cases and mediated dozens more on the defense/insurance carrier side. Now we are in our 6th year of representing people who were injured by other people or businesses.

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