If you are the witness being questioned at a deposition, there are some helpful Do’s and Don’ts that you should follow to ensure your testimony is well-represented.
Keep your answers short and concise.
Oftentimes, witnesses may add in extra information, not specifically requested, and that information turns out to hurt their case. If you are asked your name your answer should be “John Smith.” You should not say “My name is John Smith, I’m 24 years old, I live in Worcester, and I had oatmeal for breakfast.” Keep in mind that your own attorney can ask you questions after the other attorney has stopped, if he/she feels that there is some important testimony that should be put on the record.
If you don’t specifically recall something it is always better to say, “I don’t recall” and stop, rather than saying “Well I think that…”, and offering some possible response that you’re not sure of.
Don’t answer questions you don’t understand.
It is always your right to ask the questioner to repeat or rephrase a question if you’re not sure what was asked, or you simply don’t understand what the questioner said.
Don’t try to “outfox” the questioner.
Many witnesses, especially those not fully prepared, assume that they should try to beat the questioning attorney at their own game. They try to think several questions ahead and worry how their answer might lead to providing information that’s bad for their case. The end result is that they often come across sounding like they are lying or being evasive, and usually the information they are trying not to provide will come out anyway. You are always better off answering the specific question directly and truthfully, rather than trying to give evasive or hostile responses.
Depositions in all civil cases are often critical to establishing the facts and winning your case, either at Trial, or much more often, through a favorable settlement. At O’Connor and Ryan, our attorneys have extensive Trial experience, and we’ve taken and defended thousands of depositions over the years.
We will be able to fully prepare, and protect you in any Deposition where you are the witness. In addition, we will be able to advise you regarding all potential witnesses that we should question in your case, and we will be prepared to take full advantage of Depositions in the questioning of the opposing party, or third party witnesses, in your case.
For more on Depositions, click here: http://www.oconnorandryan.com/deposition-details/depositions/