If you’re involved in a civil lawsuit and have pertinent information pertaining to the case, then you may be called to testify before trial as part of a deposition. Depositions are chances for the attorneys from both sides to ask witnesses questions under oath before trial and are part of the fact-finding process. A witness can be someone involved in an incident, a witness to the incident, or someone who examined the people involved after the incident. It can also include records custodians and business professionals who can speak to business records, corporate culture, and the normal processes of the business.
Before your deposition, your attorney will schedule a time to prepare you for the process. This could be a phone call or an in-person meeting where you practice the question and answer process. At this point, your business litigation attorney will give you key tips about the deposition and how they want you to approach the deposition and questions in the deposition. Make sure to listen closely and take notes.
While the tips given by your attorney are what should guide you, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when preparing for a deposition.
- If you don’t understand, ask. During a
deposition, a court reporter and sometimes a videographer is present and the
answers you’re giving are under oath. This means they can be used as part of
the trial either in place of your testimony or to challenge you if you give a
different answer. So if you’re asked a question that is in any way unclear, or
you don’t understand what the attorney said, ask for clarification.
- Take breaks as needed. If
you’re getting flustered by the questions, or you’re tired, need a restroom
break, need a snack, or just need some peace, feel free to ask for a break. If
you’re the one being questioned, that process can go on for quite a while and
it’s important that you’re paying attention and giving accurate answers. If you
need to take a break and take care of yourself in order to do that, speak up.
- Answer the Question Asked: The
attorneys will likely ask a variety of questions to you that may not seem at
all related to the incident or circumstances of the lawsuit. Focus on exactly
what has been asked and answering that question. Don’t provide extraneous
- Review Your Understanding of Events Beforehand: While you will probably do this as you prepare with your attorney, take the time to recall everything you know about the particular incident or issue in question. For example, if you’re asked to testify about normal business processes, pay attention to how you do those processes as part of your job. How long do they take? How many breaks do you take while performing the work? Where is information saved?
If you’re facing a civil lawsuit, experienced business litigation lawyers, like the team from Dunn Law Firm, can help you and your team prepare. Reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.