9 Do’s & Don’ts During a Deposition | For Attorneys & Plaintiffs

witness taking oath in courtroom deposition_

A deposition is a crucial step in a personal injury lawsuit, used to gather important details about the case at hand. Here at Turnbull, Holcomb & LeMoine, PC, our experienced trial lawyers have honed our approach, working hard on behalf of the accident victims we represent. Read on to learn more, then contact us to schedule your free initial consultation.

What is a Deposition?

A deposition is testimony that is given under oath. Testifying under oath means that the person is sworn, under penalty of perjury, to be honest. During the deposition, the witness will be questioned and their responses will be recorded by an official court reporter.

What is it Important?

There are three main reasons for the deposition to be taken. The lawyer hopes to do the following:

  1. Hear the witness’s account of events and find out how they will tell it during the trial.
  2. Pin down the details of the witness’s story so that they must tell it the same way in the courtroom.
  3. Set up an opportunity to impeach a witness who has provided false testimony.

9 Do’s and Don’ts During a Deposition

Our trial lawyers have compiled a list of things to do during a deposition, along with things to avoid. Be sure to review it before your deposition.

  1. DO
    Only answer the question that is being asked.
    Do not provide any additional information, no matter how much you think your full answer will help your case. A long and specific answer will only invite the opposition’s lawyer to ask more questions.
  2. DO
    Listen carefully to the complete question that is being asked.
    Try not to begin thinking about your answer until you have listened to the question in its entirety. And never interrupt the lawyer asking the question.
  3. DO
    Ask for clarification if you do not fully understand the question.
    Avoid answering a question that you feel uncertain or confused about. You can simply ask the questioner to rephrase the inquiry using different words.
  4. DO
    Answer each question truthfully.
    Do not exaggerate or overstate to try and make a point. It’s best to be transparent with your lawyer from the very start to avoid surprises in the courtroom – and to keep your entire testimony from being called into question.
  5. DO
    Decline to answer any questions that require you to guess or speculate about things you are not knowledgeable of.
    Never guess if you are asked a question that you are not sure about. You are not required to have an answer to every single question.
  6. DO
    Review each document that you are presented with during the course of the deposition.
    Do not bring additional documentation with you unless your attorney specifically asked you to do so.
  7. DO
    Focus on the question being asked. While the opposition’s lawyer may try to make you feel comfortable, remember that they are not on your side.
    Do not let your guard down, even if the other attorney takes a warm, friendly approach. They may make the deposition seem informal but everything you say can be used in court.
  8. DO
    Be polite and calm throughout the deposition.
    Try to avoid getting angry at all costs. The opposing attorney may try to rile you up but becoming hostile only benefits them.
  9. DO
    Make sure a question contains the necessary facts before answering it. If it is not a yes or no question, politely explain that more clarification is required.
    Do not be afraid to correct any mistakes or omissions made earlier in the deposition. If you realize later on that you made an error, speak up. You can also ask to speak privately with your attorney, if needed.


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