A personal injury case in New Jersey may involve many steps, including a deposition. This is legal testimony or a question-and-answer session that happens outside of court. Although a deposition may seem informal, it’s important to take it seriously. Whatever you say can be used against you in court. Fortunately, under New Jersey laws, before a deposition, you’ll be given not less than ten days’ written notice before the session. This gives you and your attorney enough time to prepare. Here are some tips to help you answer questions.
Review Your Case Before the Deposition
You need to be prepared before the deposition starts. Sit with your New Jersey personal injury lawyer and review the case’s facts. This will help refresh your memory. This is the chance to help you remember the strong points and point out weak spots in your case and address them. The goal is to ensure the defense attorney knows about your injuries, how they happened, and how they have affected your life. Being prepared helps you remain confident during the session.
One of the important things to remember before and during the deposition is being honest. Don’t minimize or exaggerate anything. If the opposing party notices inconsistencies with your testimony, they will question your credibility. Don’t make statements you aren’t sure about. It’s better to say you don’t remember than to make something up.
Think Before Answering
Think carefully before you answer any questions. It also helps to wait for the other attorney to finish asking the question before you can jump in. This ensures you don’t accidentally give away any information the attorney didn’t need to know about. That little pause allows you to gather your thoughts before answering. It also allows your attorney to object to certain questions.
Try to Remain Cool
You have to remain calm even though it can be hard at the time. The impression you give the defense attorney is crucial. This lawyer will report back to their client, who decides whether to go to trial or settle the case. Personal injury lawsuits can be tricky, so you want to increase your chances of winning. If you get rattled easily during a deposition, then the attorney will know it’s easy to rattle you in front of the jury, and this won’t be good for your case. Even if you start feeling uncomfortable during questioning, be professional, tough, and straightforward.
Ask for Clarification
At times, attorneys will ask you questions that you don’t understand. If that happens, ask the lawyer to rephrase the question. This will help you provide truthful information without giving away impertinent or extra information the attorney didn’t need to know.
Never Volunteer Information
Don’t volunteer information you haven’t been asked for. While you ought to remain honest during the session, only answer what the other attorney asks. For instance, if the answer to a question is ‘no’, simply say ‘no’ without further explanation. Most people have hurt their personal injury cases by volunteering information no one asked for. Once you have answered a question, sit quietly and wait for the next question.
Read the Fine Print
Photographs and documents are often used as evidence in personal injury lawsuits. For instance, if you were in a slip-and-fall accident, the opposing lawyer may have photos of where you fell and ask you questions about it. Don’t testify about the contents of any evidence you aren’t familiar with. Review it first, then answer the question. And if the attorney claims that a particular document or photograph shows certain facts about your case, ask to check it to see if it’s true.
It’s normal to be concerned about a deposition. That’s why you need a lawyer to prepare you and ensure you don’t make mistakes.