What is Expected of Me in a Deposition?
What is Expected of Me in a Deposition – Whether My Case or Someone Else’s?
The Court Expects You to Be Respectful.
What is expected of me in a deposition? Respect!
Forget everything you have seen on television about lawsuits or court cases. Law & Order is very entertaining, but not very realistic. There will not be a moment when you can yell your overarching point like Prosecutor McCoy. And, if you do, there is no chance that the room will just stay silent after your yelling spree.
Don’t yell. Don’t be abusive to the other side or the other side’s attorney.
Most judges have zero tolerance for disrespect. Even though the judge will not be in the room for your deposition, you should behave as if the judge is going to read every single word you say.
The Court Expects You to Be Honest.
You may want to take a look at this article about preparing for a deposition. I recommend taking a look at notes, documents, whatever else you need in order to get the store straight in your head before going into the deposition.
You are Expected to Be Credible.
Wait! If I’m honest, won’t I automatically be credible? Unfortunately, no. Getting your story, including dates, times, and who did what, straight in your head, definitely helps with credibility. Credibility involves not just being honest, but also being reliable. Does your version of the story make sense? Do the pieces fit together? Did you give enough detail to make your story believable?
What is Expected of Me in a Deposition When it is My Case?
Everything above, plus…
Your Lawyer May Want You to Get Key Points Across.
Ask your lawyer directly! What is expected of me in a deposition?
Sometimes, evidence of a key point is missing from the case. For example, I recently had a case in which my client was hurt by a jagged metal object sticking out of a cart in a hardware store. The hardware store had sent some letters to me leading me to believe that my client’s injury was not their fault.
Let us take a step back, here. It is not always the store’s fault if someone gets hurt at the store. The store also needs to have known or at least should have known of the danger that caused the injury. Let us say, for instance that you drop a bottle of jelly on a grocery store floor, and then slip in the jelly, fall and get hurt. That is not the grocery store’s fault because they did not know about the danger (the jelly on the floor) and we cannot say they should have known (because it just happened).
Now, back to our story about the hardware store. I knew we needed some evidence that the hardware store knew that there was a cart with a sharp metal object sticking out the bottom. I told my client to be clear in his deposition that there were several carts all sitting together in one aisle, they were all facing the same way, they were all pretty well stocked, and there was no one else in the aisle. That would lead a regular person to the conclusion that all three carts were pick up orders that were being put together by an employee. If the employee was putting the carts together, the store should have known what was on them, including the sharp object that cut my client’s leg.
Before going into a deposition, find out from your lawyer if your case is missing any key evidence. You do not want to gloss over important information. You also do not want to fail to say key details.
Your Lawyer Expects You to Be Likable.
Yes, on top of everything else, you should remember to be likable. Don’t pout. Don’t intentionally interrupt. Don’t be snarky. And, don’t act like a spoiled brat.
Also, don’t say you want to win money so you can go on a fabulous vacation or buy a new car. You are supposed to be using the money from the law suit to pay medical bill and take time to recover from your injuries. People do not like to hear that you are using money you win from a lawsuit to act like you just won the lottery.
Attorney Kimberly Beck
Attorney Kim Beck is the managing member of Beck Law Center, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has 15 years of experience as an attorney, mostly on the defense. She now represents plaintiffs in personal injury cases involving a variety of injuries caused by defecting drugs/ pharmaceuticals, medical malpractice, and other series accidents. If you would like more information about her background and experience, please review her profile page.
Attorney Advertisement. Beck Law Center provided this post as general information and should not be construed as creating an attorney/client relationship. It may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Further, this correspondence is not protected by privilege. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.