A Deposition Doesn’t Have to be Scary

Accident victims who submit insurance claims may be asked to sit for a deposition or give an examination under oath (“EUO”). In both cases, you will be asked a series of questions under oath. And the questions will be asked by a lawyer hired by the insurance company. Accordingly, the lawyer will question you about the accident and resulting injuries.

A deposition or EUO could take several hours to complete and the opposing lawyer’s questioning may come across as hostile. The process may sound scary. However, if your attorney prepares you properly the whole process can be completed without causing you much stress. Here are a few tips that I provide to all clients to help them prepare for their deposition or EUO.

Tell the truth.

You may think that a white lie here or there during a deposition may help your case. The reality is the opposing lawyer is not only listening to your answers but also judging your credibility. The easiest way to pass the credibility test is to tell the truth.

Answer questions simply.

As human beings, we feel the need to answer questions and then provide a narrative explanation as to why we answered a particular way. In a deposition, providing a narrative may give the opposing lawyer more information than they need. This may lead to additional questions and probing. A simple rule of thumb is, if you can answer a question with a “yes” or “no” answer, do so and then stop talking.

Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”.

You may be asked questions for which you simply do not know the answer, whether it is because you have forgotten or never knew it at all. Do not be afraid to tell the opposing lawyer that you simply do not know the answer to their question. Even if it is an answer that you should know, the worse thing you can do in a deposition is guess or speculate as to what the answer should be. If you guess or speculate, your answer will be attributed to you as if it is based on personal knowledge.

There are just a few of the tips that I give to clients when facing a deposition or EUO. Please contact me if you have any questions.


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