A deposition is a Q&A session between a lawyer and a hostile witness, similar to a courtroom cross-examination. Although it takes place outside of court, typically in a law office conference room, you will be under oath. Both sides can use depositions to gather evidence for a personal injury case.

You can’t schedule a deposition during settlement negotiations—they occur only after your claim becomes a lawsuit. Indeed, you might need to file a lawsuit just to beat the statute of limitations deadline. Once you do, however, you can proceed with the pretrial discovery evidenced-gathering process. Depositions are a key component of pretrial discovery.

The Purpose of a Deposition

The purpose of a deposition is to elicit testimony from witnesses that the other side is likely to call at trial. More generally, the goal is to prevent “trial by ambush.” The legal community generally accepts that the best way to approach the truth is to allow each side to prepare their case without any last-minute surprises from the other side.

The Court Reporter

A court reporter will attend the deposition and record all questions, answers, and objections. At least some of the testimony will qualify as evidence if the case goes to trial. Some of the deposition testimony might be inadmissible in court, however. 

At a deposition, attorneys have a much wider latitude to ask questions that call for answers that would be inadmissible in court. Of course, the opposing attorney can object to the question. Nevertheless, since judges don’t attend depositions, there will be nobody at the deposition to rule on the objection. If your case goes to trial, the judge can exclude your deposition testimony from evidence at that time.


Most depositions include a videographer who will film the deposition. A video of the deposition can make it virtually impossible for a witness to deny having made certain statements or for the opposing party to fabricate testimony that never happened.

Advice on Handling a Deposition in Laredo, Texas

You could write a library of books on how to deal with a deposition. Following is an extremely abbreviated list of tips.

Tell the Truth

Never lie while giving a deposition. Lying about a significant matter while under oath is perjury, which could result in criminal charges against you. Even if you never face criminal charges, getting caught lying during a deposition could destroy your credibility.

Keep Your Cool

The opposing party is going to try to rattle you; off-balance witnesses tend to make mistakes and contradict themselves. Don’t let the opposing lawyer rush you, fluster you, or anger you.

Don’t Volunteer Any Information

Listen carefully to the question, and answer only the question that the lawyer asks. Supplementing your answer with additional information is likely providing the opposing lawyer with a gift. Giving gifts to the opposing party is never good for a personal injury claim. 

Avoid Speculation

Speculating on the answer to a question can get you into trouble and damage your credibility. Never forget that “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer as long as it’s true. 

Try Not To Rely on Notes

The opposing lawyer can demand to see any notes you bring to the stand with you. The use of notes also tends to weaken the persuasive authority of your testimony.

You Definitely Need a Lawyer To Help You Prepare for a Deposition

Don’t expect your deposition to be fun. It probably won’t be. The better you prepare for one, however, the more smoothly it will go. The assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney is absolutely vital in this regard. You need to work with your lawyer to prepare for your deposition. You should participate in rehearsals where your attorney plays “devil’s advocate” by asking you tough questions and coaching you on how to respond.

By the time you complete your preparations, you should be extremely familiar with all of the evidence and all of the facts of your case. A successful deposition can go a long way toward winning your claim.

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

If you were injured in an accident in Laredo, TX, and need legal help, contact our Laredo personal injury lawyers at Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

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