Basic Deposition Questioning Techniques

In preparation for your deposition, your personal injury attorney will explain some techniques opposing counsel will likely employ during the deposition and your best approach as a witness.

What kind of question will the attorney ask?
The type of question depends on what the attorney is trying to elicit form you:

 An attorney trying to get information asks open-ended questions.
 An attorney trying to pin a witness down asks leading questions.
 Whether open-ended or leading, attorneys try to keep questions short, even though they don’t always succeed.
 Attorneys also generally try to make each question self-contained so that the witness can understand it without reference to other questions.

If an attorney messes up after he or she has started a question, he or she can say “strike that” and start over. Another method of starting over is for the attorney to say to the witness, “I’m going to start over, okay?” This way, after the witness answers “yes,” the corrected question will start on a new line of the deposition transcript.

As the witness can I outsmart the deposing lawyer at a deposition?
Sometimes at trial, on cross-examination, this may be possible, but a deposition is different than a trial. Typically, as your experienced personal injury attorney understands, the goal of a deposition is to get basic information.

This usually means there won’t be any opportunity for the witness to “outsmart” the lawyer. Instead, there will only be opportunities to evade, mislead, or lie, which isn’t outsmarting the attorney at all—it’s getting the witness in deeper if he’s caught.

What if I am less than truthful at the deposition?
If the witness lies, he’s likely to be caught. Once the deposition ends, the discovery phase of the case continues. Unlike cross-examination, which comes at the end of the case, the attorney will have plenty of opportunities to test the truthfulness of a witness’s deposition answers as the case continues.

There is a strategy to each phase of a personal injury case. Your personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of David P. Kashani, APLC provides counsel on all personal injury matters. Mr. Kashani offers a complimentary initial consultation. Call (323) 782-9605 to make an appointment today.

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