In a deposition, one party demands testimony from the other party or their witnesses. The testimony is under oath but out of court. 

Yes, you can depose the other party or their witnesses–but they can do the same to you. That is how you could end up giving a deposition in a lawsuit that you initiated yourself. Deposition testimony is sometimes, but not always, admissible as evidence in court.

What Is the Pretrial Discovery Process?

A deposition is only possible after you file a lawsuit; it is impossible if all you’ve got is a claim you’re trying to negotiate. If you want a deposition (which might provide you with some valuable testimony from the other side), you’re going to have to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

That will eventually initiate the pretrial discovery evidence-gathering process, which will include the following legal tools:

  • Depositions
  • Interrogatories (written questions)
  • Demands for access to physical evidence
  • Demands to copy documents
  • Requests for admissions 

You can ask the court to sanction the opposing party if they refuse to cooperate. The testimony gained during pretrial discovery is often sufficient to generate a settlement, with no need for a trial.

How Do Depositions Work?

A deposition will probably take place in a conference room of a law office. A court reporter will be there, as will witnesses and lawyers for both sides. One notable absence will be the judge–which means there will be nobody to rule on any objections. 

The defendant’s lawyer will question you, and perhaps your own lawyer will also question you. As mentioned above, all testimony is under oath.

Preparing for a Deposition

You’re going to need several hours (at least) to prepare for a deposition. 

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Review all relevant documents. This will include all correspondence related to your case, any accident reports or police reports, your medical records, and perhaps photographs. Your lawyer may suggest other documents as well. When you finish your review, you should be able to offer general testimony without the need to look at the evidence.
  • Know your case, inside and out. That includes the exact dates of your medical treatment, the manner in which your injuries occurred, a basic description of the accident, and anything important that happened before and after the accident. Giving false testimony (perjury) is sometimes a criminal offense. Making an error is not criminal, but it could sound that way. Getting your facts straight is the best way to avoid a false accusation of perjury.
  • Rehearse your deposition with your lawyer. The tougher your lawyer is on you, the better prepared you will be. Insist that your lawyer “grill” you and teach you how to handle every trick the defendant’s lawyer may try to use on you.
  • Have your lawyer write out a list of questions that you will likely have to answer at the deposition. You should do your best to learn it all by heart.
  • Practice your delivery. That means pausing to think and collecting yourself before you answer. You can be sure that the defendant’s lawyer will try to rush you and provoke you into fear or anger. Don’t fall for it. Practice listening carefully and thinking before you speak.
  • Practice disciplining your answers. The idea is to answer exactly the question asked and nothing else. Don’t give the defendant’s lawyer any information that they don’t directly ask for. This will take some practice.
  • Keep your composure. Ask your attorney to provoke you so that you can practice refusing to take the bait. Your lawyer should help you understand when you should and shouldn’t answer a question.
  • Practice demanding clarification of vague or compound questions. You don’t have to answer any question you don’t understand.

You are bound to make at least a few mistakes at your deposition. Don’t worry too much about it. Bring your lawyer to the deposition with you to protect your interests.

A Laredo Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Prepare For Your Deposition

Whether you’re a plaintiff, a defendant, or a third party, don’t try to handle a deposition alone.

There are too many possible mistakes for you to even think about representing yourself. Instead, contact experienced Laredo personal injury attorneys.

Contact the Laredo Personal Injury Lawyers at Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If your loved one has died due to another person’s negligence in Laredo, TX, you should find the best personal injury lawyer to help you. Contact our Laredo wrongful death attorneys at Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today. They will help you understand the best way forward in your case.

Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers
6557 Metro Court, Suite 1 Laredo, TX 78041
(956) 529-7336

Ride there with Uber