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Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc.

California accident and injury depositions? What are they and how can I help my case?

A deposition is an opportunity for the other side to ask questions of you under penalty of perjury.  A deposition is usually conducted in front of a court reporter in California accident cases.  The court reporter takes down the questions and the answers.  
A deposition is not an opportunity for an attorney to berate you or treat you improperly.  In fact, there are rules of decorum that must be observed.  If you feel during a deposition that you are being berated, belittled, or being called a liar, it is your right to discontinue the deposition and ask a judge to intercede.  A competent California accident attorney can help you with this process.
The deposition should, and does, allow for the other side to ask all of the questions that are important to understanding your claims, the injuries and the damages you have sustained.  Questions may ask about how the accident occurred, your injuries and your inability to work. 

You may not know the answers to certain questions and it is okay to state “I do not know.”  In fact, it is preferable that you not guess at an answer rather than try to give an answer that may be false.  
Some clients become very agitated when they have to give a deposition.  A competent and qualified accident attorney should calm that client down and explain to them the process is not difficult if you know certain strategies when giving a deposition.  After 15 or 30 minutes with our office attorneys, clients often feel very powerful and comfortable giving their deposition testimony.  .  
Here are a couple of strategies to observe. First, you do not want to volunteer information.  We want to let them ask their questions and only answer their question.  Do not assume that if you tell your story in deposition, your case will be settled.  The defense already knows your case.  They are taking your deposition to prepare for trial if is necessary and find out any defenses to your case.  That said, we  still, by all measures, want the attorney for the other side to like you.  
It is very hard for an attorney to like us and yet to say that you, somehow, are misstating the truth, and not being honest.  Therefore, during a deposition, I always encourage clients to be forthright and helpful without giving away unnecessary information.  Do not let yourself be so comfortable that you begin talking in a narrative rather than answering their questions. 

The three tenets of a deposition:

1.  Don't volunteer information, simply answer the question as forthright as possible.

2.  Make the attorney like you by being yourself and cordial.

3.  If you need to speak with your attorney, stop the deposition, and we will step outside. 
If you follow those three tenets, your depositions will go smoothly.  
Call an experienced accident attorney if you have to go to a deposition and you want help.  Call us at 1-866-981-5596 for a free consultation on any claim you may have.

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