September 26, 2019

Some of the Most Commonly Asked Deposition Questions

By: Colleen Jilio-Ryan | Posted in: Deposition

Most commonly asked deposition questions

A deposition is a legal process to gather sworn evidence from a witness. Always be aware that your deposition can make or break your case as it arms your opponent with legal resources to use against you in the trial. Therefore, you should know how to conduct yourself during your deposition.

Here are some commonly asked deposition questions for giving an effective testimony.

What is a deposition?

A deposition is used to gather accurate pre-trial information to discover what a witness may know. The testimony is preserved for later use in court. Depositions are usually conducted in an attorney’s office and also involves a court reporter who keeps a verbatim record of whatever is said during the testimony. The witness is under oath and must answer all questions posed by the deposing attorney.

Can you refuse to give a deposition?

A subpoena is a written order that legally binds a party to provide testimony on a specific issue about a case. For a deposition subpoena, your lawyer has to present a sworn statement for the trial. If you don’t want to give a deposition, you can communicate this to the judge in advance. Refusing to give testimony when formally requested may result in a penalty for contempt of court.

What should you not say during a deposition?

You’re under oath when you give a deposition, just as you would be if you were testifying at trial. It might be tempting to answer quickly and get it over with, but you should think about your responses before you speak. Generally, when you are undergoing a deposition, you should not:

  • Volunteer information
  • Lead the attorney to find additional information
  • Argue with the lawyer
  • Discuss anything openly with your lawyer during break time
  • Guess but only answer questions that you know the answer to
Related Post: How to Be Careful About What You Say in a Deposition

What happens after a deposition?

Here are a few things that typically follow a deposition:

  • A transcript is prepared
  • Parties review and revise the transcript
  • Your lawyer will evaluate your deposition
  • Your statement can be used in court

After a deposition becomes part of a public court record, it may be accessible well after your case is over.

How long after deposition is mediation?

In some legal disputes, the parties may be able to reach a mediation or an agreement without the need for a trial. However, depending on the case evidence and the testimony given during the deposition, mediation might be attained immediate, or the parties might engage in lengthier negotiations before deciding.

How long does a deposition take?

Most depositions fall in the two-hour range, but they can last from one hour to several days. A lot depends on how complicated the case is as well as the witness giving the deposition. The lawyer’s experience may also affect the length.

How to handle a tough deposition question?

Before a deposition, review the records and facts of the case and have a clear understanding of opposing counsel’s goals and strategies. Prepare thoroughly with your attorney because opposing counsel will be sizing you up as a witness. Approach the deposition with humility, confidence, and a good understanding of how to answer difficult questions honestly and skillfully.

How to prepare a witness for the deposition?

Every attorney will need to know how to take a useful deposition. Also, they must know how to prepare their deposition witnesses to eliminate surprises. Here are some tips for lawyers to prepare a witness:

  • Explain the Process
  • Answer Their Questions
  • Practice with a Mock Deposition
  • Practice the Right Conduct

How to give a successful deposition?

The keys to giving great testimony include:

  • Prepare in advance
  • Review all available records before the deposition
  • Listen to your attorney
  • Always tell the truth
  • Do not overstate your case
  • Stay composed

How to beat a deposition?

Preparation and professional demeanor are crucial to providing effective depositions in legal proceedings. Here are some dos and don’ts to beat a deposition:

  • Listen to the question
  • Only answer the question that is asked
  • Ask the questioner to rephrase questions you don’t understand
  • Maintain your composure
  • Don’t interrupt the questioner
  • Stick to truthful answers
  • Don’t use non-verbal communication to answer questions
  • Beware of compound questions
  • Listen to your attorney
  • Dress and act appropriately

Deposition plays an essential role in the legal process. These questions will help you perform reliable depositions that can be confidently used during a court hearing or other legal process.

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