Most people have an understanding of what a deposition entails that is dictated by movies or tv shows they’ve seen, or maybe by what they’ve heard second hand from family or friends. Most people think that depositions are frightening, combative and something that they should dread. This is simply not the case.
In general, and especially in Vermont, depositions are simply an opportunity for each side of a case or lawsuit to tell their side of their story. Depositions rarely involve arguing, intimidation, or one side trying to trick the other. On the contrary, depositions in Vermont almost always are polite and relaxed events.
How to Prepare for Your Deposition:
Preparing for your deposition is extremely important. If there are any documents that are important to your case, it’s important that you review them carefully so that you’re able to speak about them knowledgably at your deposition. It’s also important to review them so that you’re not caught off guard during the deposition. This could make you feel anxious and nervous, and could cause you to answer questions that you’re not confident about the answers to.
Documents that could be important to review include medical records, contracts between the parties, interrogatories that you’ve answered, the Complaint in the case, news articles about any companies that are parties to the suit, or any materials that you’ve provided to your attorney that may have been disclosed to the opposing attorney. If you’re unsure about what documents to review, feel free to ask your attorney.
It can also be helpful to spend some time anticipating what are the issues of the case and what is the opposing attorney likely to ask me about those issues. Once you’ve anticipated what you’re likely to be asked, you can begin to think about how you would like to answer that question to best articulate your side of the story.
Your attorney will also likely schedule a time, usually within a week of the deposition, where they will meet with you to discuss the deposition and to answer any questions you have about the process.
If you’re wondering what to wear to your deposition, it is always recommended to dress in as professional a manner as possible. If you have a suit, wear it. If you have a professional looking dress, wear it. If you don’t, a shirt and tie or a simple blouse is always okay. Any questions about dress code can also be asked of your attorney at any time leading up to your deposition date. Basically, you should dress as you would if you were in Court.
What to Expect at Your Deposition:
At your deposition, you will be accompanied by your attorney, who will sit next to you and be available for any questions you may have. Across the table will be the opposing attorney, who will ask you as many questions as they need to be able to cover all the issues of the case. There will also likely be a court reporter, who will type down each question asked and each answer provided so that a transcript of the deposition is available for reference until the lawsuit is finished.
Although most of the questioning will be about the issues of the case, most depositions also include a long period of background questions where you can be asked anything from your birthday, to where you grew up, to what kind of hobbies you enjoy, to whether or not you have ever declared bankruptcy or been convicted of a crime. These questions can seem tedious and boring, but they are simply a part of the process and should be answered in a forthcoming way.
The attorney questioning you will then, likely in chronological order, ask you questions about the issues of the case. You should simply try to answer the questions in a careful and polite manner. If you do not know the answer, you can simply say “I don’t know.” If you don’t understand the question, you can simply ask the attorney to ask it in a way that’s easier to understand. If you need to take a bathroom break, feel free to take one.
Important Tips to Remember:
If you’ve answered a question and the opposing attorney sits in silence as if he’s waiting for you to continue with your answer, hold your ground and let him ask another question. Silence can be a powerful tactic an attorney might use to get you to overshare, but don’t fall for the trick!
KRAMER LAW OFFICES: FIGHTING FOR OUR CLIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Our team has built a reputation for compassionate and fierce advocacy on behalf of our clients. If you or someone you know is in need of an attorney, you can reach Kramer Law by calling a 802-257-2221 or using our quick and easy contact form. We are also conveniently located in downtown Brattleboro at 42 Park Place if you would prefer to stop by. We are also happy to discuss your case remotely on Zoom if you wish.
As our client, we will take care of all of the legal, privacy and insurance related issues surrounding your case so that you are able to recover and work towards a better and brighter future.