Covid 19 has moved many things from in person to virtual. A video or virtual deposition is not new, however, it has become the norm as opposed to the exception in 2020/2021. Recently, we have seen depositions, mediations, hearings and even some trials conducted by Zoom or some other video conference software. Clients who are not familiar with the process can make some big mistakes that can negatively impact their Michigan City personal injury matter.
If you are asked to give a deposition by Zoom, it needs to be taken seriously because the recording or transcript can be used in trial. Because of this it is important that you give the best testimony that you can.
How to Prepare for Your Personal Injury Zoom Deposition
First, you must prepare for your deposition as if it were going to be in person. You have to understand the mechanics of a deposition, review the necessary papers and documents, and be ready to testify.
Second, if are not familiar with the technology, you should practice with your lawyer or someone at the office regarding the technology. As a general rule, if possible, I have my clients come into my office for their Zoom deposition. We go into the conference room and keep a safe distance. This way I know that the technology will be working and the Client doesn't have to worry about this layer of complexity.
If you are unable to go to your lawyers office, once your deposition is scheduled, it is advisable to:
- Become familiar with your equipment/tech: It is always better to be hard wired into the internet instead of wifi, however, if wifi is all you have, you should be as close the router as possible. Also, it is better to use a computer, laptop or tablet, as opposed to a phone. Cell phones are small and it is difficult to get centered using a phone.
Check your audio. If you have an external microphone, it is advisable to use the microphone and headphones. It will help you hear the other lawyer and allow the lawyer and court reporter to hear you better. If you are forced to use the built in microphone, turn off all notifications and your phone service so there are no interruptions.
Practice-Practice: Have your lawyer send you a practice link so you can connect and go through a short practice run to get used to the technology.
- Check your background: Make sure the lighting in room is adequate, make sure you are centered in the frame, and your background is clear and uncluttered. If you are doing the conference in your bedroom, make sure the room is straightened. Do not use a Zoom virtual background unless you have sufficient lighting, if you don't have sufficient lighting, you will be distorted.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Sometimes there is a lag in the audio. Make sure you allow the lawyer to ask his/her question fully before you start to answer, and when you answer, make sure you speak clearly and slowly. This will allow your answers to be heard by the court reporter and the audio recorder.
- Watch your dress: Even though you may be at home during your deposition, the process is formal and you should dress the part. You don't have to wear a suit or a dress but you shouldn't look like you are at the beach or the health club.
If you follow these suggestions, the process should be easier.
If you have any questions about a Michigan City personal injury matter, call Guy DiMartino Law at (219) 690-8997.