Sep 29, 2015

Preparing Claims Adjusters and Representatives for Depositions and Trial Testimony

Being deposed can be a stressful and confusing situation. Depositions are used to find information, but mostly what the plaintiff attorney can use against you.

Types of Depositions

  1. Discovery
  2. Perpetuation
  3. Telephone
  4. Video Deposition

*Usually a discovery deposition will take place followed by live testimony at trial.

Reasons Depositions are Taken:

  • To investigate a claim
  • To discover information the other party may have
  • To preserve testimony for trial
  • To evaluate how your witnesses compare to the opposing witnesses

*Depositions can be used for impeachment at trial or for supporting or opposing various motions.

When preparing for a deposition, one should always remember who you are, your role at the company, and who you represent.  There will be no stipulations before unless they help the case and defense attorneys will meet with the deposed before to prepare.

As you are answering questions, remember to give short, succinct answers, and do not rush. Let the plaintiff attorney finish and complete his question. Be slow and descriptive in your speaking to eliminate confusion, and do not let the plaintiff attorney cut you off.

Deposition Tips and Tricks

  • Do not fall into the plaintiff attorney’s scheme - “Would it be fair to say..?” Answer: “I do not know what you mean by fair, but I testify…”
  • Allow your attorney to object first.
  • I do not recall; I do not remember” is fine, but if plaintiff knows and recalls, his word is golden.
  • Confer with your attorney after answering if you have thoughts or concerns about the answer.
  • Only words are taken down by the court reporter - No gestures, sounds, or inferences are available to help you.
  • "Attorney-client privileged information", "work product", "proprietary information" is objected to.
  • Provide all information - Some names are hard to spell. Assume the court reporter has no information on how to spell these names or anything about the case.
  • Avoid gray areas
  • Always tell the truth

At the trial, cross examinations will go as follows: Plaintiff attorney will state “You recall giving a deposition and answering ____, correct? That is contrary to today, correct?  The plaintiff attorney usually objects to the responsiveness of the witness to the question.  The deposition may be read in its totality if you are unavailable.  Remember, always read and sign the deposition and talk to your attorney before changing anything.


Tips for being deposed

prepared by:

Jimmy A. Castex, Jr.