Hello. My name is Ty Wilson. And today we’re talking about deposition preparation and some helpful information. We’re going to really cover today what you should NOT do if you’re in a deposition. Let’s start off by talking about answering the questions. When you are in a deposition, it’s very important that you listen carefully to the actual question they are asking. You want to answer that question and ONLY that question. Do not offer your own spin on things. Do not offer more than what they ask. Never respond with answers you think they want to know.
How To Respond in a Deposition
Responding appropriately requires that you listen completely and attentively to the person who’s asking the questions. This will be the opposing attorney. You want to listen, understand what they’re asking. If you don’t understand, ask them to clarify for you. You can say: “I’m sorry, I don’t understand your question. Can you rephrase it?” They will happily rephrase it. If they cannot rephrase it appropriately, your attorney will step in, as I’ve done in several cases.
You will be sworn in under oath during a deposition. It’s critical that you are honest. These answers can, and will, be used against you down the road if there is a trial. Remember that insurance companies want to limit the payouts and that’s their prime objective. Although they may appear overly helpful, that’s not how insurance companies work.
Everything you say will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And so that is something that is very important. It’s very critical. You do not want to guess. You do not want to mislead. You do not want to lie, you want to be truthful. You basically want to answer their questions as honestly as you can and get out of there as quickly as possible.
Tips for the Deposition
Some other notes that we’ve made are as follows:
- Do not talk talk endlessly.
- Do not offer up information.
- Answer only the question they ask. For example, if they ask “Tell us where you live. “ You should provide the town and state. Nothing more. Do not describe your home, or your neighborhood, etc.
- Make them ask you the specifics that they’re looking for. If they don’t, that’s on them. That’s not on you.
- Don’t volunteer. You’re there because you’re required to be there. You’re not there because that other attorney is your buddy. They may seem friendly but they have a job to do. You are required in order to obtain some form of benefit, whether it’s medical benefits or income benefits. They are the ones who are in charge of helping guide the person who makes the decision as to whether or not you get that.
- Do not get angry at the questions. This is not what you see on TV. It’s a question and answer session, and it should be. It is usually very simple. Again, you want to get in there, answer the questions and get out.
What Can They Ask in a Deposition?
We are often asked about the types of questions they can ask. Well, arguably, anything that’s relevant. That’s why you have, or should have, an attorney there with you. That attorney is listening to the questions. I know. I’ve sat through thousands and thousands of depositions. Your attorney is closely listening to the questions. They will make a determination for you whether it’s a proper question, whether there is a need to take it off record or for you not to respond. Your attorney will handle all of that. That’s why you brought them on board.
Am I Required to Have an Attorney for my Deposition?
You are never required to have an attorney for your case during a deposition. However, after doing this for many years, I can advise that it is not a very good idea. We get many clients who come to us AFTER they did a deposition on their own and provided incorrect or inaccurate information which has jeopardized their chance of getting benefits. Trying to do this on your own means you need to navigate through what you are required to answer and what you should not do in a deposition. The employer’s insurance carrier will have at least one attorney. They do this all of the time and they use attorneys for this. If it’s that important to their side for an attorney, you should have one as well.
An attorney also knows the rules of evidence. Some questions are not going to be relevant for you to answer. If you don’t have an attorney you may answer something you should not do in a deposition and that will harm your case. The ultimate goal here is always to get your the care and benefits to try and make you whole again after your injury.
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