Once your case has reached the litigation stage, perhaps the most important step is your deposition. You can never really “win” a deposition — except in the extremely rare case, you’re not going to convince the other side that you’re right. But you can certainly “lose” a deposition — provide testimony that can gut your case and claims.
Going into your deposition, the insurance lawyer has a number of different objectives, all designed to hurt you. Some of the lawyer’s more important goals are: (1) find out your story, (2) find inconsistencies the lawyer can use to attack your credibility; (3) limit your claims; and (4) evaluate you as a witness.
Because your deposition is so important, it is important that you properly prepare. Hopefully, your lawyer will spend some time with you to get ready for the deposition. Depending on the case, we usually make sure you understand the process, give you our “rules” for depositions, go over the facts of the case, and provide sample deposition transcripts so you can get a better flavor for the types of questions asked.
I’m probably overly protective of the information I provide, but my good friend Steve Lombardi, a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, has a great blog post where he shares his Rules for Deposition Preparation. While I don’t agree with all of Steve’s rules, if you’re nervous about your deposition and/or don’t think you’re lawyer is adequately preparing you, Steve’s rules are a great start.