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Prepare for Your Deposition

Seth Harris

Last modified on August 9, 2023

Depositions can seem scary. Thinking about an intimidating lawyer asking you a series of questions might cause you stress. However, the process is simpler than you might think. Adequate preparation is essential if opposing counsel wants to depose you. You should hire a lawyer and practice answering questions to avoid mistakes that negatively affect your lawsuit.

Tricks and Traps Lawyers Use During Depositions

Defense attorneys often resort to underhanded tactics to obtain information from plaintiffs. They want evidence they can use to defend their client.

Common tricks and traps include:

  • Taking long pauses – The defense lawyer might pause between your answer and the next question. They’re not thinking about questions they want to ask or waiting for you to say more. It is common to create uncomfortable silence and get a plaintiff to elaborate on their answer. Don’t fall for it. When you finish responding, say nothing else until the lawyer asks another question.
  • Referring to evidence – Opposing counsel can refer to evidence they found while deposing a plaintiff. They might ask you about a specific photo, medical record, or witness statement but prevent you from reviewing it. You’re allowed to see it before answering. Going off of memory is risky and often leads to incorrect responses.
  • Asking elaborate questions – Sometimes, defense attorneys ask yes or no questions involving two separate topics. Even though the question might require two different answers, requesting a yes or no response can trap you into agreeing with the lawyer’s statement or interpretation of circumstances related to the case.
  • Discussing incorrect details – Another common trick is using inaccurate information during questioning. The attorney’s goal is for you to respond with the information they can use to support their case.
  • Asking vague questions – Some questions have nothing to do with the subject. Opposing counsel might ask about your personal relationships, previous accidents, or criminal record to uncover details they can use against you in court.
  • Forcing a desired answer – Knowing how to answer every question during an hours-long deposition is impossible. It’s normal to forget some details, especially if the accident occurred months before. Inform the lawyer if you can’t provide an accurate response. They might press the issue, so you’ll guess, but saying you don’t know is a better option.

Deposition Mistakes to Avoid

Try not to let your nerves get the best of you. Avoid these common mistakes during your deposition:

  • Showing up with documents – Referring to notes or evidence seems harmless. You want to recall specific information correctly while answering questions under oath. However, the defense attorney can review what you bring. Your notes could open up a new line of questioning they hadn’t considered.
  • Getting angry or upset – Depositions are overwhelming, but making a good impression is critical. Your composure during the deposition can indicate how you’ll perform on the stand. If you lose your cool, the defense attorney can use that to their advantage. You must remain calm and polite the entire time.
  • Volunteering information – Never give the defense lawyer details they didn’t ask you to provide. Responding to a question with a simple yes or no is sometimes acceptable. Explaining your answer or offering supporting details doesn’t benefit you. Instead, it might offer the lawyer valuable evidence.

Strategies for a Successful Deposition

A successful deposition requires careful planning. You can incorporate various strategies, such as:

  • Preparing in advanceMeet with your attorney before your deposition to discuss possible questions opposing counsel might ask. Practice how you’ll answer so you don’t say too much or reveal incriminating details.
  • Taking your time – Immediate responses aren’t necessary when the lawyer finishes asking each question. You can pause and think about your answer first.
  • Being honest – Some accident victims believe lying or skewing information will benefit them. However, it’s better to stick to the truth. You’re under oath during a deposition. That means you must answer honestly or face severe consequences.
  • Asking for clarification – If a question is confusing, ask the attorney to repeat it or explain the context. That way, you avoid providing irrelevant or false information.

Seek Legal Assistance from an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you receive a notice of an upcoming deposition, don’t panic. Although thinking about how you’ll handle being grilled about the accident is nerve-wracking, you don’t have to deal with the process alone. Harris Keenan & Goldfarb can offer the guidance and support you need. Our attorneys will help you prepare and remain by your side throughout the proceedings.

Call us at [phone-number linked=true] for a consultation in New York if you sustained injuries in an accident someone else caused.

Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.



The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.



Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.



The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.



The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.



A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What our clients have to say

I am not a client. Just a commuter. What is your advertisement? Fire your marketing manager asap. “Yo, pain law, yo” what is that? 1 start for horrible marketing. Sorry. Job you do is serious and isn’t a joke.
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I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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