“Deposition” can be a very intimidating word for someone who isn’t used to the inside of a courtroom, especially knowing that your words can have very real legal weight in your case. It doesn’t have to be a scary experience, however, especially if you’re prepared for the experience and have somebody with experience by your side. Here are a few of the questions we hear the most when we’re helping out people in North Metro Atlanta with giving depositions in all kinds of cases including personal injury, malpractice, family law, business disputes, and more .
Where Does the Deposition Take Place?
First of all, as with everything else, coronavirus has disrupted this process but not made it impossible. Since quarantine began, we’ve been helping clients by conducting interviews, negotiations, and even depositions over the phone or virtually through video conferencing software. As long as all parties consent and the deposition is properly recorded by a court official, this is a perfectly legitimate means to take a deposition.
The larger point is that, under ordinary circumstances, this isn’t a proceeding that needs to take place in a court room or a judge’s chambers. Usually this takes place in the office of either a lawyer or a court reporter. While what happens at a deposition carries the weight of the court, you can expect it to be a less formal proceeding than a courtroom procedure.
Who Will Be at My Deposition?
If you have representation your lawyer or a representative from their office will be there with you. On the other side you can expect there to be legal representation for whoever is on the other side of your dispute, as well as a representative from their insurance company (if applicable to your case.) Most vitally, there will be a court stenographer to accurately record every word spoken throughout the deposition. This is very important, as the testimony given during the deposition will be used throughout any mediation/negotiations or courtroom trial proceedings.
What Can I Expect to Happen at My Deposition?
Continuing the thought from the first question – a deposition is a legal proceeding but don’t let that intimidate you: it’s perfectly acceptable for you to ask for breaks if you need them or make requests to make yourself more comfortable, especially if you’re still experiencing pain from the injury that brought you there in the first place. If you have a lawyer with you be sure to let them know of any accommodations you need throughout.
Depending on your case, the deposition can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. In it you will be asked questions to establish all the facts surrounding your claim. In a personal injury claim, for instance, this can include:
- Questions about your medical history
- Background information on your life and work history
- The facts surrounding the accident/injury
- Details on any treatment you’ve received as a result of your injury
- Details on any lingering/permanent effects of your injury
Regardless of the nature of your claim/case you should be prepared to go into detail about aspects of your life surrounding the case at hand.
Do I Have to Answer Every Question at My Deposition?
Absolutely not, and having a good lawyer in the room or on the call with you is an excellent way to protect against inappropriate questions that pertain to privileged information or are unrelated to the subject of the claim.
However, you should be prepared to honestly answer many questions that might seem intrusive but are directly related to an investigation into your claim. Again, this is where having a good lawyer on your side can come in handy, as they can help you prepare for what questions to expect and how to answer them. In general, be ready to honestly answer any questions as asked and not add any additional information or commentary. Stay calm and polite, keep your answers simple, and maintain eye contact with the questioner or the camera. It’s best to remember the saying, “Cases are never won in the deposition, but many of them are lost.”
Ready to move forward? We’ve got years of experience guiding our neighbors here in Georgia through the disposition process, so reach out today and see what we can do for you.