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FAQs: What to expect at a deposition

Attorney in Long IslandOften times our attorneys are asked questions regularly about a specific aspect of the law or court process. We want to use our blog to educate our current and potential clients as to the most frequent questions we see in both criminal and civil cases. For example, our team of Long Island Personal Injury Attorneys are often questioned about the deposition or EBT (Examination before Trial) process. Below are merely some of the frequently asked questions we receive regarding EBT's , but as a reminder if you or a loved one has been the victim of another person's negligence and has questions, our trial lawyers at Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn are available for a free consultation by calling us at 516-858-1266 or by visiting our website at sckesq.com.

WHAT IS AN EXAMINATION BEFORE TRIAL (EBT)?
An EBT is your testimony under oath or affirmation. It is not a trial and no judge or jury is present. At the EBT the attorney for the defendant will ask you questions about the accident and your injuries. Your questions will be recorded by a court reporter who will put the questions and your answers into a written transcript. An EBT is a required part of your case.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT UNDERSTAND A QUESTION?
Do not answer any question you do not understand. It is allowed to tell the questioning attorney that you do not understand the question.

DO I HAVE TO ANSWER EVERY QUESTION?
With a few exceptions the law requires you to answer every question asked. We will direct you not to answer if the question is not permissible. However, you should never guess or speculate. If you do not know the answer to a question then it is permissible to say "I do not know." If you are not certain you are allowed to give an estimate. Guessing is not the same as an estimate. For example, you may not recall the exact time it took for the accident to occur but you may recall the approximate time.

CAN I TESTIFY THROUGH AN INTERPRETER?
If English is not your native language and you would feel more comfortable with a certified interpreter, one will be provided. Please contact us immediately so we can arrange to have in interpreter present.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
You should dress in business attire or neat casual clothing. Always dress comfortable as the deposition could take a few hours.

CAN I TAKE A BREAK?
Yes. Breaks are allowed and encouraged when needed. However, the law prevents a break if a question was asked and not yet answered. This prevents someone from thinking about an answer during a break. Otherwise breaks are permitted.

WILL THE OPPOSING ATTORNEY BADGER ME?
They can try, but if they do WE WILL PUT A STOP TO IT! We have all attended countless depositions during our careers and have seen all types of styles. Although it is rare that an opposing attorney is rude it does occur. Do not worry about this. If an issue arises we will stop the deposition and see the judge. With our reputation this is unlikely to occur.

HOW LONG WILL THE EBT TAKE?
This depends on the complexities of the case and the style of the questioning attorney. Plan to spend the entire business day at the EBT, however, It is rare that an EBT will last the full day.

HOW MANY TIMES CAN I BE DEPOSED?
You will only be deposed one time. However, if additional injuries surface or you undergo an advanced medical procedure, the court may allow another EBT.

WILL THE DEFENDANT BE PRESENT IN THE ROOM?
By law all parties are allowed to be present during the EBT. This can be stressful especially to adverse parties. Although we cannot force the other parties not to be present during your testimony, if this is a concern let us know and we will attempt to make the EBT solo.

DOES THE DEFENDANT GET QUESTIONED ALSO?
It is not mandatory, but we always question the defendant. If it is a simple fact pattern such as they hit your vehicle in the rear and they admit fault, their EBT will be quick.

CAN I BE PRESENT WHEN THE DEFENDANT TESTIFIES?
As stated above, all parties are allowed to be present during the depositions. However, attendance is not required.

CAN THE DEFENDANT GO FIRST?
Under the law the order of the EBT is to be held in the order of the caption. As such, the plaintiffs go prior to the defendants. However, this is not a strict rule and if the parties agree, and it is beneficial to your case, we will consider allowing the defendant to go first.

As stated above these are merely some of the most frequently asked questions we see when it comes to the deposition and EBT process. However, not every question is answered here and our personal injury lawyers are always available to answer any question that you may have about your case.