Someone who brings a personal injury lawsuit will be asked to give a sworn deposition, which consists of their answering questions, under oath, about how the accident happened as well as the injuries they suffered. The person asking the questions will be the lawyer for the defendant, the individual being sued. Most people have never given sworn testimony before and are understandably nervous. They worry they won't remember things clearly. They worry they won't be able to explain what they do remember because they don't speak well enough. They worry they just won't know what to say. But more than anything, they worry they'll be outsmarted by the defense lawyer and tricked into saying something that damages their case.
We begin our prep by giving our clients the most direct and effective advice we can, which is: Just tell the truth. We tell them: that's your only job, to answer the questions truthfully, as best you can. It's then our job to present your case as effectively as possible so as to maximize your recovery. But for your deposition, you've only one thing to think about and that's being truthful. Do that, we tell them, and things will fall into place.
The wave of relief that passes over our clients is almost palpable. You can see their brows unfurrow and the creases on their foreheads disappear. Many of them actually sit back in their chairs for the first time that day and exhale sighs of relief. Some smile. It's that easy? they ask. Yes, we tell them, it's that easy. Just be honest. We'll do the rest. We'll do the heavy lifting. If you're honest, you'll make our jobs a lot easier. On the other hand, if you're less than honest, your case will go south very quickly.
It changes the dynamic in the deposition room. Our clients walk in self-assured and confident. They're no longer playing on the defense lawyer's field. They're back on their own turf. No need to outthink or outsmart him. All they need to do is tell the truth. They were there at the accident scene. He wasn't. I can do this.