Giving a Deposition in Texas: How to Prepare
When a case goes to court, it is essential to gather evidence. Giving a deposition in Texas lawsuits is an important aspect of many cases. This is true whether it’s a personal injury, employment law, family law, or another type of case or lawsuit.
A deposition is a court-ordered testimony. In it, both sides question a witness in order to collect answers. Additionally, depositions from claimants may also be necessary. However, before giving a deposition in Texas, it is crucial that you prepare.
When you work with one of the attorneys at Universal Law Group, our team helps you prepare a great testimony. Moreover, we help you avoid whatever weapons the defendants’ legal team may use against you.
This guide helps you understand depositions and how to prepare to give a deposition during your case. For the sake of simplicity, it focuses on personal injury. However, Universal Law Group is a full-service law firm ready to help you tackle an array of legal matters, from car accidents to criminal defense.
Schedule a free consultation with our team today and learn more about how we can benefit your case.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is a legal statement that you provide under oath. Giving depositions in Texas lawsuits is a part of gathering evidence through the discovery process. The person answering questions is the deponent. Oftentimes, depositions occur in offices outside the courtroom with the deponent, the other party, attorneys from both sides, and a court attorney.
Typically, all parties are able to ask you questions during your deposition. The attorney representing the defendant asks particular questions. Next, these are transcribed by the court reporter and recorded by a videographer if video is necessary.
Why Do Lawyers Need Depositions?
There are several reasons that depositions are important for lawsuits.
- Depositions help both sides gain vital information.
- They offer accountability because we record the statements.
- In rare cases, witnesses fall ill or pass away during trial. Depositions provide reliable statements to the court.
- They help you and other witnesses recall your statements. This is beneficial when lawsuits drag on for months or years.
As a witness or a claimant, it’s important for your story to be intact. This is because you cannot suddenly change your narrative in court. That’s why it’s important to work with an attorney when you give a deposition. Our team helps you anticipate questions so that you never stray from your truth.
Who Asks Questions While I’m Giving a Deposition in Texas Lawsuits?
Typically, the attorney from the opposing party sends notice of deposition to you or your legal team. This notice includes the time and date of the deposition. Generally, the attorney providing notice asks questions first.
At your deposition, the court reporter swears you in. Next, the noticing attorney provides a summary of the purpose of the deposition. Moreover, they state why you should use vocal responses instead of non-verbal gestures.
When the case involves more than two parties, multiple attorneys may be present. Each of them represents a different party.
In some instances, the court reporter may read prepared questions to you. This is not common, but it does happen. Throughout the deposition, the court reporter records responses verbatim. Generally, all parties receive a copy of the transcript to use as they build their case.
Where Do Depositions Happen?
Usually, when giving a deposition in Texas, it occurs in the office of your attorney. However, parties might identify other locations. Due to the pandemic, more remote depositions occur via Zoom. In these cases, you may be at home or in your own office and provide a video deposition online.
The Rules for Giving a Deposition in Texas Personal Injury Cases
Tell the Truth from Your Perspective
The most important aspect of any deposition is the truth. When the opposing party notices inconsistencies in your statement, they use it against your case. If you are a witness in the case, they use inconsistencies to call your credibility into question.
Listen to the Questions
Oftentimes, the deponent feels nervous. This might tempt you to answer questions before the opposing lawyer finishes asking them. However, try to be patient. Listen to the entire question, think about it, and respond. When you respond to the question, provide a specific answer to the question and nothing more.
Don’t Let Them Put Words in Your Mouth
Oftentimes, the opposing attorney uses leading questions in a deposition. Moreover, they use these questions in an attempt to trap you. If you don’t agree with the premise of a leading question, don’t agree with their testimony.
Additionally, your attorney may advise you not to respond or plead the Fifth Amendment. This helps you avoid self-incrimination.
Be Wary of Continous “Yes Questions”
“Yes Questions” are a common trick attorneys use. They ask several leading questions that are truthful, quick yes answers. In doing so, they attempt to coax a “yes” out of you for another question.
In this process, they ask more and more damaging questions. The hope is that you unconsciously respond “yes.” Don’t let them damage your case with flimsy tricks.
Whenever you aren’t sure about something, say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” If you can’t remember specific times or dates, never guess. When you don’t know something, you simply don’t know. If you guess, it can damage your case later.
Qualify Your Responses As Much As Possible
When you don’t remember the details, qualify your response. For instance, you might say, “That’s all I remember right now. Please refer to my records.”
Ask for Clarification
When you don’t understand a question, ask them to repeat it or explain what they mean. Never respond to a question you don’t understand.
Avoid Lengthy Stories
Giving a deposition in Texas is not a time to tell stories. At the deposition, it’s important to focus on the questions. Never provide extra information to the defendant’s attorney. There is always the potential for them to use it against you.
Instead, share your story with your lawyer. Our legal team can help you understand the pertinent points to share in your deposition.
Professionalism and Patience
Common courtesy is always important. Extend this to the defense attorney. While they are the opposition, there’s no reason to be rude. Additionally, it’s beneficial to maintain a professional look and demeanor throughout the deposition.
Patience is also essential. There’s no reason to rush through the deposition. Stay quiet until the defense asks a question. Listen and understand the question so that you can respond effectively.
Occasionally, depositions last for several hours. When you need a break, feel free to request one. Catch your breath, calm yourself, use the restroom, or do whatever you need to do.
When Giving a Deposition in Texas, Prepare with an Attorney
If you need to give a deposition in Texas, preparing with a lawyer is a great way to avoid confusion and be ready for a broad array of questions. At Universal Law Group, our team is always ready to help with your case. As a full-service law firm, we’ve helped countless Houstonians tackle numerous issues.
Call our team today at 832-767-0339 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.