In your lawsuit for injuries suffered in a New York car crash, Bronx trip and fall, construction accident, from a defective or dangerous product or a dog bite, (to name a few examples), the single most important event in that lawsuit before the trial is known as the deposition, or “examination before trial.” During the deposition, you are placed under oath, and then asked a series of questions by the defense attorneys about your personal background, education, employment history, your accident, your injuries and damages. In essence, the deposition is a dress rehearsal for the trial of your case, and it provides both attorneys and the insurance companies an opportunity to analyze your abilities as a witness. Was your testimony credible? Would a jury like you as a witness and want to find in your favor? Did your testimony establish the elements of your case as to the negligence or carelessness of the defendants and their legal responsibility for your injuries?
Because of the vital importance of the deposition, you should make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before, and arrive for the deposition clear headed and well rested. If it’s possible, it is better for you not to take pain killers that you would normally take if they have side effects which could affect your alertness and stamina. Additionally, it is my opinion that if you are feeling more of the effects of your injuries while you are testifying, you will be more likely to emphasize the pain and disability form those injuries. I also strongly believe, although many attorneys do not do this, that preparation for the deposition, including how to respond to questions about your accident and injuries most effectively, should be done prior to the date of your deposition. Typically, lawyers meet with their clients to prepare an hour before (sometimes 15 minutes before) the deposition is to take place–this is a huge mistake, especially considering the importance of the deposition and the likelihood that you will be somewhat anxious and less likely to be able to remember the instructions you are given.
When testifying, you must keep your cool and testify in a calm and clear fashion. Defense attorneys have numerous strategies to rattle you, anger you, intimidate you and attempt to cause you to lose your focus and concentration. It is critical that you avoid these traps–your goal should be to convince the defense attorneys that if the case reaches trial, you will be a formidable witness. You will know that you accomplished this goal if within a month or two of the deposition, the defense attorneys approach your attorney to discuss settlement of your case–in my experience, this happens frequently when the client does well at his or her deposition.
Part 2 of this article will focus on the content of your testimony–how to testify most effectively to prove your case.
If you, a family member or friend has been injured in an accident, been the victim of a dangerous or defective product, or suffered injury due to medical malpractice, contact the Westchester County personal injury lawyers at the White Plains, New York Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633, You will be provided with a free consulation with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who will fight the insurance companies to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries, lost earnings and loss of enjoyment of life.