Typically, the length of a deposition is based upon the complexity of the issues of the case. It varies depending on the deponent, and it varies depending upon the lawyers. For some depositions, one of our plaintiff clients could be over in an hour and a half or two hours, or they could go for a day or two. When a deposition goes a day or two, it often has to do with the obsession of the opposing counsel. I have had depositions extended where I was deposing witnesses for the other side, including expert witnesses who do not want to really answer the questions; they want to make speeches. That is really unfortunate because under the rules, I am paying for this opposing witness to give a deposition. I do not want to listen to anything and everything that he or she has to say; I want specific responses to my questions, and when questions are usually tailored for a specific purpose, I take them out, and I tell them just answer the question. Brevity is important for everybody. Another classic instruction is keep it short, answer the question that is asked, and nothing more. We do not really have great control over how a witness or opposing counsel is going to behave, although it is sort of one of my more recent bones of contention, because I am currently involved in a case where I think the opposing counsel has a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder and his depositions are very long. When his witness is being deposed, he insists on letting his witness make speeches. I think that is unethical. I think that witnesses should do nothing more than answer the question asked.

What Is The Role of an Attorney in a Deposition?

If you are in a deposition, your attorney should be there. If you are a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer is almost certainly working on a contingent fee, and at least one of the lawyers from that particular office should be present; you should never do this yourself. The role of your lawyer is to protect your rights and your interests, to object when objections are appropriate, to intercede on your behalf, and to protect you. You should not need protection, but at least from the standpoint of improper questions, it most certainly is necessary. If your case is complicated enough to be in suit and your deposition is being taken, your attorney should be there with you.

What Can Someone Do To Be Prepared for Answering Questions at a Deposition?

Preparation for deposition usually comes as a result of instructions from your attorney. My general instructions to my clients who are going to be deposed in a personal injury case include tell the truth, answer the question that is asked, and do some preparation. That preparation involves reviewing the documents of the case that are taken by the time of the deposition, reviewing written interrogatory responses, reviewing documents, reviewing medical records, reviewing wage and employment records, and also reviewing other related material that will be identified by either me or one of the other lawyers in the office.

Additional Information about Personal Injury Depositions

Some basic things: Your lawyer is there to protect you. If things get a little bit rough, remember your lawyer is there to protect you. If you need a break, you can ask for a break almost at any time, as long as there is not a question pending. It is okay to say I do not know; the worst thing you can do is guess. Whether it is what day something happened, what time it happened, how much distance there was between you and the other vehicle, how much warning you had about something, just do not guess.

It really is perfectly okay to say I do not know if you do not know. If you know it, you will answer the question. Defense lawyers will often ask you to use your best estimate if you do not know. It is okay to use your best estimate. It is not going to lock you into a really uncomfortable position, but do not be too nervous. Assuming it is your first time, you will naturally be nervous, but remember, your lawyer is there to protect you, and if your lawyer has done a good job and if you have done a good job preparing for the deposition, it will be fine.

For more information on Timeline of a Deposition, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (203) 325-8600 today.