Do’s and don’ts for deponents
The most basic and important deposition rules for all deponents to adhere to are the following:
- Listen carefully to the question.
- Make sure that you understand the question.
- Briefly answer the question that is asked and then stop talking.
- Tell the truth.
- Speak in words that are audible and recordable because the court reporter does not record gestures.
- Justify your answer.
- Talk when someone else is talking.
- Keep talking when your attorney is objecting.
- Discuss what your attorney has told you.
- Feel rushed to answer.
- Try to fix the question. Just answer the question that was asked.
- Answer before thinking.
- Chew gum.
- Reach in your pocket or purse and produce documents or items.
- Attempt to fill the silence with your talking.
- Show hostility.
- Ask questions.
- Say, “to tell the truth” or “honestly.”
- Be afraid to admit you don’t know if you don’t know.
- Criticize your own treating doctor unless it is a malpractice case.
- Agree to supply documents later.
- Let on that you are afraid to go to trial.
- Attend in dirty clothes.
- Say “always” or “never” unless you are absolutely certain.
- Be fooled into thinking something is true because the defense attorney suggests it.
- Be “witty.”
- Partake in small talk before, during, or after the deposition.
- Cover your mouth with your hand.
- Keep repeating “um,” “ahh,” “you know,” etc.
QUICK TIP: Contrary to popular belief, the truth can hurt a plaintiff. However, personal injury attorneys are prepared to deal with the truth. On the contrary, lying will often destroy your case. The deposition is one of the best times for you to establish your credibility with the opposition. You should also pay attention to your demeanor and appearance.