Whether you are pursuing a personal injury or insurance claim, or are a debtor in bankruptcy, or a plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit, you will likely be required to answer questions under oath. On those occasions, remember that the person asking you the questions is, in all probability, not on your side. It is in your best interest to have an attorney represent your interests when you are subpoenaed for a deposition or requested to provide a sworn statement.
Your attorney will be able to object to irrelevant lines of questioning, redirect the deposition into appropriate areas, and prevent the questioner from putting you on Trial through a simple sworn statement.
Your attorney will walk you through the deposition process and help you understand the following guidelines:
- Do not volunteer information; answer only the question asked. No matter how much you want to help the case, avoid the temptation to expand your answer beyond the question asked.
- Listen to the question asked. Never interrupt a question with an answer.
- Do not answer any question unless you understand the question and the information requested by the question. If you do not understand a question, you should request that the question be repeated or clarified.
- Do not guess when answering a question. All that you are required to provide is your best recollection. If you do not know or remember the answer to a particular question, say so. Just because you are asked a question does not mean that the question has an answer and that you must have an answer.
- Do not bring any documents to the deposition/sworn statement unless there is a written request specifying the documents you are to have with you, or unless your lawyer so advises. When presented with documents or exhibits during the deposition/sworn statement, take time to review the materials to be sure that they are genuine and take time to think about what the document represents.
- Listen, concentrate and focus on the questions asked. A deposition/sworn statement is not the time to engage in small talk or jokes. If you get too comfortable with the person asking the questions, you may not realize what you have answered.
- Be polite and never become angry or hostile. By becoming angry or hostile you restrict your capacity to listen and concentrate on the questions asked.
- When faced with a leading question, that is a question that suggests the answer, or a hypothetical question, that is a question that assumes facts, be sure that the entire substance of the question is accurate before answering “yes.” If any part of these kinds of questions is inaccurate, then either correct the inaccuracy before answering or simply answer “no.”
- Do not hesitate to correct errors you may make during the course of the deposition/sworn statement. Everyone miss-speaks and forgets things.
- Respond to each question; but at the same time make the question mean what you want it to mean and answer the question the way you want to answer the question.
- TELL THE TRUTH! Do not lie, exaggerate, or overstate what you know.
Remember that it is in your best interest to have an attorney represent your interests when you are going to give a deposition or sworn statement.
If you have received a subpoena, contact us today to look out for your best interest.