You are being asked several questions by a savvy lawyer who says he is only trying to investigate your claim. But your attorney has already prepared you for this statement and you know your testimony can make or break your case. Your head is spinning. You are confused by dates and questions concerning your past medical history and former employment. All you want to do is make it end. Here’s a thought, relax, be calm. If you don’t know the answer just say, “I don’t know”.
Let the deposition flow on your pace, not the attorney asking the questions. So please, when you need to think about the question, and if you still don’t know the answer just say, “I don’t know”. If you can’t be precise and you have to approximate, say so. Do not volunteer information by supplying information you believe the attorney should have asked. If you feel the attorney is putting words in your mouth, stop him by rephrasing his question as part of your answer. Do not be evasive, it will show in the transcript. Let me remind you not to try and beat the attorney at his own game. The best you can do is be prepared, and answer his or her questions truthfully. Then let the chips fall where they may. The facts are the facts. Your past medical history and former employment are what they are. Do not try to recreate history.
Be assured that if you have social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, My Space, etc.); its fair game for the attorney to explore. He or she can serve a subpoena to get information from the sites for the attorney to explore. They can serve a subpoena to get all photographs, videos, and comments from those social media sites, so if you have uploaded pictures of yourself dancing at your cousin's wedding, or zip lining in Costa Rica during a period you testified you were bedridden, well, I don’t have to tell you how that will impact your case.
If you need a break, ask for one. No one is going to fault you for wanting to go to the bathroom or stretch your legs when you have been sitting in the "hot seat” for an hour or so. You cannot use this time to be coached by your attorney. Preparation time should have been spent prior to this proceeding. Gathering your thoughts and getting refreshments at this time is fine. Don’t worry about what the attorney may say regarding this break.
This is the second article in the “How to Conduct Yourself in Deposition” series. Please look for the third article next month.
For more information, please contact The Dickstein Law Firm at (954) 893-8000 or (1 888) FLA-HURT (352-4878).
Mark D. Dickstein is Managing Partner for The Dickstein Law Firm. The Dickstein Law Firm is located in Pembroke Pines, FL, and represents clients involved in personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims, automobile accidents, product liability cases, workers' compensation claims, retaliatory discharge lawsuits, medical malpractice claims, slip and fall injuries, property loss disputes, hurricane damage losses and music business law agreements and disputes. To learn more, please visit the law firm's website at www.flahurt.com.
Please do not consider the content contained in this article as a substitute for actual legal advice from counsel who has been retained and/or consulted with as most cases have their own unique set of facts and require detailed information to properly analyze and form an appropriate legal strategy. This article is intended for informational purposes only.
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