Final Tips for your Discovery Deposition
You should not exaggerate your injuries or losses, but you should not hesitate to explain fully all of the injuries and damages caused by the accident. Watch out especially for questions such as, “Did you suffer any other injuries?” A negative answer at the deposition can limit you at the time of trial. You must think long and hard before committing yourself to such an answer. If you cannot think of any other injuries or complaints, it is fair to tell the other attorney, “That is all I can think of right now.” This keeps your options open in case you have simply forgotten about an important part of your claim. It is easy to forget during the pressure of a deposition, especially if the other attorney is utilizing a combative style of questioning.
Do not try to memorize the accident, injuries, and treatment. Justice requires only that you tell your story to the best of your ability. A memorized recitation of the events appears contrived and manufactured. Some degree of spontaneity adds settlement value to the case.
Dressing and Acting Appropriately
Since you are trying to make a favorable impression on the defense attorney, it is important to dress neatly and to treat all persons in the deposition room with courtesy and respect. There is nothing to gain by arguing with or insulting the defense attorney. After the deposition, this attorney will report his or her impressions of you to the insurance company. If this attorney thinks that your attitude will rub the jurors the wrong way, the insurance company will be inclined to make a relatively low settlement offer.
It is critical at every stage of the litigation in which you are evaluated in person by the insurance company, its attorney, an arbitration panel, a judge, and/or a jury, that you dress appropriately and conservatively. Failing to do so shows a lack of respect for the court. The judge, jury, or arbitration panel may think that you do not take the matter seriously enough if you do not present a business-like appearance. If you appear at your deposition improperly clad, the defense lawyer will report this to the insurance company and the settlement value of your case will suffer.
The most important aspect of the discovery deposition is you and the appearance you make. If you give the appearance of fairness, honesty, and earnestness, and if you keep in mind these suggestions, you will have taken a great stride toward the successful settlement of the litigation.