How can you screw up your deposition? This is something that was bluntly asked of me by someone who had watched one of our previous educational videos. After digging deeper and asking follow-up questions, the person wanted to know what are some ways in which a person can run into serious problems during a deposition.
In today’s article, and supporting video, I am going to discuss one way in which you can run into problems with your deposition. Before going further, I want to remind you that if you have specific questions about your deposition and issues which are germane to your case, talk with your attorney about these questions, as my information is general in nature.
WHAT IS A DEPOSITION LIKE?
A deposition is a question and answer session done as a part of the discovery process. The deposition has a few purposes. In general, the opposing side wants to see how you come across. Do you have a generally pleasant disposition or demeanor that would come across well to the jury or fact-finder?
In addition, a deposition can allow both sides to home in on the critical issues which will be present in trial. As the testimony in the deposition unfolds, the issues, especially those which may not have been anticipated at the start of the case, begin to take shape.
HOW CAN YOU SCREW UP YOUR DEPOSITION?
A major piece of the deposition puzzle is credibility. Do you come across as knowing the facts or do you appear credible?
For example, let us say at your deposition you are asked a line of questions. In this line of questioning you are sure, confident, and give expressed answers. However, you really do not understand all the questions, as you make assumptions regarding the questions instead of getting clarity as to the questions. Now the case moves to trial. At trial you are asked the same series of questions. This time you are either unsure or your answers are different than what you have previously.
Defense counsel may seize the moment and try to make you out to be less than credible. They may seek to impeach your testimony on the witness stand at trial by using your deposition testimony to show that the answers to the same questions are different. Impeach means to challenge the validity. The jury will hear you testify live on the stand, then the defense counsel may read a copy of the previously conducted deposition with the different answers.
Situations like this can cause problems for you as a witness and can impact your case. A jury or factfinder will ultimately be the judge as to what weight, if any, to give to your testimony.
HOW TO PREVENT THESE ISSUES FROM OCCURRING…
One way to make sure that you lessen the chance of being impeached at trial is to make sure that you understand the questions before answering. If you do not have a clear understanding of the question, do not assume that you know the meaning of the question. You can always have the attorney to either rephrase the question that is being asked, or you can request clarification as to the question. It is better to do these things than to assume that you understand the question that is being asked.
As I mentioned above, if you have more questions about the specific issues that are present in your case regarding your upcoming deposition, be sure to run these questions and concerns by your own attorney.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP