Be honest. You are sworn to tell the truth and if you are caught in a lie, no one will believe anything else you say. If there is something that you do not want to talk about at the deposition, be sure to talk to your attorney about this before yoru deposition so he or she can help you decide whether it is necessary and, if so, the best way to present this problematic information.
Answer “yes” or “no” if possible. If you are asked a “yes or no” question, answer only “yes” or “no.” Do not elaborate or explain your answer any further. If the attorney wants more specific information, allow him or her to ask you specific questions and then answer the specific questions.
Keep your responses short and simple. Listen carefully to the question and answer only the specific question that you are asked. Do not think out loud or give more information than the question asks you to provide.
Be calm and polite. If you find yourself becoming angry, nervous, or upset in any other way, politely ask the attorney for a break and speak with your attorney. Arguing with the attorney could make you look bad and it could even hurt your case.
Remember the attorney-client privilege. You do not have to tell the insurance company’s attorney about any conversations you’ve had with your attorney; however, if you share any information that is protected by this attorney-client privilege, you will waive this privilege and likely will be forced to disclose more confidential information.
If you’re not sure about an answer, explain this when you respond. For example, if you’re asked to state how much a particular object weighs but are not certain, you can say something like “I’m not sure, but I think it weighs about fifty pounds.” Similarly, if you can’t remember an exact date but believe it was two years ago, you can say something like “I think that occurred about two years ago.” This is much better than guessing because if you guess and are wrong, you may be held to your answer even though you were not sure when you gave it.
Listen carefully to your attorney’s objections. Your attorney probably will not object to too many questions; therefore, if your attorney objects to a question, listen carefully to what he or she says. Unless your attorney instructs you not to respond, you must respond after your attorney completes his or her objection.
If you do not clearly understand a question, ask the attorney to repeat or rephase it. If you answer a question, the judge will assume that you understood the question; therefore, to make sure that you answer only the questions that are asked, you should ask the attorney to repeat or rephrase any question that you think you did not fully understand.
Be prepared. Before your deposition, you should make lists of the following information to the best of your recollection:
- Questions and concerns you want your attorney to address before your deposition;
- Dates of your prior work-related and non-work-related injuries, and description of each of these injuries;
- Names and addresses of your medical providers during the last ten years; and
- Names and addresses of your prior employers.
Relax. As long as you tell the truth, you should have nothing to worry about. And if you are concerned about anything, let your attorney know and he or she should be able to put your mind at ease.