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It's your deposition. You're asked a question. He wants either a yes or no answer. Do NOT give a long winded answer.

You brought a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries.

Maybe it was an accident matter.

Maybe it was medical malpractice.

Maybe it was an untimely death in your family.

During the course of your lawsuit here in New York you will be asked to give pretrial testimony.

Legally, that is known as a deposition or an examination before trial.

It's really a question and answer session that occurs in your lawyer's office.

The defense attorney will be there along with a court reporter.

The answers you give to questions carry the same exact weight as if you are testifying at trial.

The only difference is that there is no judge or jury present.

A court reporter is there to record all of the questions that you are asked and all the answers that you are giving.

One of the most important instructions you will receive by your attorney when he prepares you for this question and answer session is to answer ONLY the questions that are asked.

There are many people who think this is an opportunity for them to tell the attorney everything that happened.

That's wrong.

Some people think this is an informal conversation with an easy give and take. That is wrong too.

This is really nothing more than an attorney asking specific questions to obtain specific information about what occurred.

Don't get me wrong, the defense lawyer will ask hundreds and hundreds of questions to unearth everything he possibly can about your background, your history, the events in the past, what happened surrounding this incident and what happened to you since then.

However, there will be questions that call only for a yes or no answer.

The best thing you can do in most circumstances is to simply answer the question yes or no or I don't know. Another alternative is that you cannot answer the question with just a yes or no.

There are many reasons to answer the attorney's question directly with a yes or no instead of giving long-winded answer.

One theory is that the more information you provide to the attorney, the more questions he will have about those additional details you provide.

Another theory is that he doesn't want any additional information at that moment, only a direct answer.

Another theory is that if you continue to explain your answer when no explanation is asked, you will be there for many more hours than you expected.

To learn even more, I invite you to watch the quick video below...


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer