Thinking of being grilled by a lawyer who wants to manipulate your words is enough to make most people think something like the title to this article. Fortunately, if you remember two things, you can get through your deposition (or examination under oath, or recorded statement) without calling the other lawyer a rude jerk and with your dignity intact.
Remember these two rules for giving a Deposition:
- Tell the truth;
- You know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Your deposition (or recorded statement/examination under oath) is time for you to sink or swim. A lawyer can do pretty much everything else for you in your case, except testify.
If you do well (or okay) you probably won’t hurt your case. If you do poorly, you may have irreparably damaged your case.
Always Tell the Truth at Your Deposition
So let’s think about 1. Why tell the truth?
Besides the obvious reasons (it’s the right thing to do, you are committing perjury (and can go to jail if you don’t), the most important reason is that if you lie, the other attorney will figure it out, and you will have done irreparable damage to your case.
Let’s put it like this, an average lawyer has graduated high school, college, gotten an extra three years of school (at a minimum) with a legal degree, and somehow makes money in a profession where it is incredibly difficult to compete.
Put simply, it’s their job to figure out the inconsistencies in your case, to make it look like you are lying, even when you tell the truth!
If you lie, you just play right into their hands. Remember, assume they have read every single document you’ve given them in the case. If one document contradicts your story, you lose credibility.
SO DON’T EVER LIE
You Know What You Know, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
What does number 2 mean? Turns out, most people have bad memories. They aren’t lying, they just don’t remember things quite the right way. That’s why it’s always okay to say “I don’t know the answer to that question.” Don’t guess, don’t sass. It’s simple – you know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know.
You aren’t a doctor, a lawyer, an accident reconstructionist, or anything but a normal person. Even if you are an expert at something, it probably has nothing to do with your case. So, it’s okay to defer to the experts.
Don’t try and be cute though. If you have a basic understanding of something, explain what you know. But, use the bathing suit test – cover everything, but keep it short enough to be interesting.
It Can’t Be That Simple, What Else Do I Need to Know?
Obviously, you should know, at a minimum, who you think is at fault and why, who you are suing and why, what your injuries were, what happened, and how this has affected your life. You should review the case documents and your medical records, and anything else your lawyer thinks would help you.
Keeping those two rules in mind (1. tell the truth; 2. you know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know) will help you give a deposition with confidence. Let someone else handle the rest. Call us at (270) 599 – 0642 if you would like to know more.