Depositions are a common factor in nearly every lawsuit. It’s only natural to feel uneasy about the process, but knowing what to expect can ease anxiety and lead to success. At Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey, we believe every party to a lawsuit should understand the purpose of a deposition.
The Deposition Process
There’s an old saying that our lawyers find true: “You cannot win a case at deposition, but you sure can lose it.” Here are some facts that help clarify the process.
Depositions gather facts
They provide opposing attorneys the opportunity to ask questions and discover information about a case. It’s also a time for them to evaluate your credibility, composure, and how a jury might receive you.
Typically, they’re conducted at opposing attorneys’ offices
You, your attorney, the opposing attorney, a court reporter, and possibly the opposing party in the case will attend the proceedings. Anyone with information about the case may give a deposition, including witnesses.
It’s a formal procedure
While the deposition isn’t held in a courtroom and the audience is typically small, make no mistake: a deposition is a formal proceeding. You’re testifying under oath, and your answers are recorded by a court reporter. In fact, testimony taken at a deposition can be used in various circumstances at trial.
Be truthful or risk perjury
But it’s important that you only answer questions that are asked, stick to the facts, and never guess. If you don’t know or don’t remember, just say so.
Take your time
The court reporter only records spoken words, not pauses. So don’t feel obligated to fill long silences for the sake of conversation. Some attorneys intentionally remain silent to tempt a witness to volunteer information.
Be sure you understand the questions
It’s perfectly fine to ask for clarification. Pausing before answering a question allows time to think and make sure you provide an accurate and concise answer without volunteering additional information. These pauses can also help you remain calm.
Your conduct is being evaluated
Stay professional and composed, even if you become frustrated.
Follow your lawyer’s advice
You’ll likely meet with your attorney to discuss the deposition process and how to prepare. It’s critical that you heed their advice. We’ve found that clients who take deposition prep seriously have better outcomes.
A deposition is a significant event, and knowing what to expect can make for a smooth, positive experience.
Do You Need to Speak to an Experienced Central Kentucky Attorney?
For nearly half a century, Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey has been one of the most respected firms in the region for providing individuals with the essential financial and legal knowledge they need to thrive. We serve clients throughout Central Kentucky, including Hardin County, Meade County, LaRue County, Breckinridge County, and Grayson County. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation.