The way a client delivers his or testimony at a deposition can make or break their case. It is crucial that you nail your deposition to ensure that you receive the highest and best value for your case. An insurance company is going to pay more for the case that is packaged and prepared well as opposed to one that is not packaged well. Here are some important tips on how to approach and provide a successful deposition:
1. Dress Appropriately
Both overdressing and underdressing can hurt your case. A defense lawyer will take one look at your attire and decide on whether he is paying you a lot of money for your case.
At a deposition, a man should wear dress or casual slacks and a long sleeve, button-down shirt. You should never show up to your deposition in short pants and a Hawaiian shirt or tank top. If you come dressed in a suit or in casual slacks with a long sleeve shirt, then the defense lawyer will likely think that you are going to make a better appearance in front of the jury and he is going to value your case more.
For women, make sure not to overdress. This can create the connotation that you do not need the money because you are dressed so well. Another conclusion is that it is tacky if you come to a deposition dressed in a cocktail dress. I suggest women to wear a suit or just slacks and a long sleeve blouse.
Also, do not overdo the jewelry, makeup, or hair. Insurance adjusters are going to pay more money for your case if you look and dress appropriately. Do not show too much skin or wear dresses and blouses that have spaghetti straps. This will not impress the other side and is inappropriate for both a deposition and for court. Typically, defense attorneys are looking for a conservative look, and they are willing to pay more money for a conservative look.
2. Know the Facts of the Accident
By all means, sit down with your lawyer and go over the facts of your case. This includes knowing the following information:
• Date and time of the accident
• Road and weather conditions
• Year, make, and model of your car and if possible, other cars involved in the accident
• The lane and direction you were traveling in
• Traffic signals
• Shoulder or no shoulder on the road
Additionally, you should read the police report and go over it with your attorney prior to the deposition. You do not have to necessarily memorize all of the specifics in the report, but you should have a general working knowledge of what it contains so that you are acquainted with all of the facts, witness names, and so forth.
4. Review your Medical Records
Knowing the history of your medical treatment is vital. Be familiar with your medical records and review your bill. This does not mean that you must remember each date that you went to see the doctor, but what you might remember is that you went to the doctor 30 or 40 times. It is appropriate to testify in that manner. If you do not remember something, it is perfectly fine to say you do not remember.
So, be familiar with your medical records, the relative cost, the relative number of times you went to appointments, the types of doctors you sought treatment from, which parts of your body were injured, how long it took for each one of those injuries to improve, and be able to describe how much pain you were in for all of those injuries. For example, if you had shooting pain in your arm, then say you had shooting pain down your arm, not that you had an injury to your whole arm. Remember to use descriptive words so that the attorney, and possibly the jury, may understand the pain you endured.
5. Be Familiar with your Work History
Without a doubt, the defense attorney is going to ask about your past employment. This will entail each and every job that you have held over the last 10 or 15 years. They are also going to ask you how much time you missed from work and what the value of that time was.
6. Tell the Truth!
The most important rule of every deposition: TELL THE TRUTH. Honesty gives you credibility. If you are being dishonest, it will be exposed, and the value of your case will majorly decrease. Undoubtedly, the other side has information about you, and they know your history of accidents and medical conditions. Do not let your case to suffer over a lie. If there is damaging information to your case, allow your attorney to soften those weaknesses instead of trying to cover them up.
7. Do NOT Guess or Over Speak
As I said earlier, it is okay to say you do not know or do not remember. There is no need to guess at an answer. Moreover, if there is a pause in the conversation, do not continue speaking to break the silence. Doing so may lead to you taking too much and giving the wrong answers. And most importantly, never volunteer information. Simply answer the question you were asked.
8. Do NOT Exaggerate
The defense will know if a plaintiff is exaggerating his or her injuries in order to receive a bigger settlement. Do not say you cannot stand up or do certain activities when, in fact, you can. More likely than not, the other side will have evidence of you doing the thing you just stated that you could not do. Rather, you should state that you are in pain when standing up or performing activities and still feel pain weeks after doing so. Again, it is always important to be honest.
Keep these tips in mind before you give your testimony, and of course, talk to your attorney before you attend any deposition.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, call us today for a free consultation. PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), 1-888-892-2736 (toll free) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.