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Some states, including New York refer to a deposition as an examination before trial (EBT). In a civil personal injury case, you are entitled to orally examine your adversary prior to trial. The examination before trial is a useful discovery device that should rarely be waived. The purpose of an examination before trial is to learn as much as possible about your adversary’s position.

The procedure is fairly informal. The EBT need not be conducted at the courthouse. The procedure involves the attorneys, the stenographer and the person giving testimony. The EBT is sworn to, by the party being examined. The stenographer takes down everything you say and prepares a transcript of the testimony. The transcript is later mailed to your attorney for your review and corrections.

During the EBT, The attorneys may object to the questions when appropriate and in rare instances your attorney may instruct you not to answer a question, in order to preserve a privilege or confidential information or if a question is improper and would, if answered, cause you prejudice.

Your answers at the EBT should be limited to the questions asked. Do not volunteer any information. Your objective is to be truthful, and cooperative. Do not allow yourself to become flustered or upset. Do not read from prepared notes at your EBT, as opposing counsel is likely to question you about your notes. Your appearance at the EBT is often required under court order. Your failure to comply may lead to sanctions and possibly the striking of your complaint, or you may be precluded from testifying at your trial.

The information obtained during the EBT may be very useful for later use at trial. For example, your EBT testimony may be used to impeach you, if you make an inconsistent statement at trial. Additionally, the EBT transcript of your adversary may be read at trial.

Our attorney will meet with you prior to your EBT, to prepare you and explain to you the type of questions you may be expected to hear. The preparation period will also detail the procedure. The facts of your case will also be discussed. Your appearance, demeanor and credibility will be evaluated by opposing counsel based on your responses to questions.

It is important to have adequate rest and be neat and presentable at the EBT. It is important that you make a good impression. However, be yourself, and not someone who you are not. Opposing counsel usually prepares a report following the EBT, with an evaluation and will present the report to the insurance company. The insurance company will rely on the report and your deposition testimony, to evaluate your case and determine whether to settle your case or proceed further.

Examinations before trial are usually confirmed one day prior to the scheduled EBT date. The EBT’s are frequently adjourned due to the unavailability of witnesses and the engagement of attorneys in other matters. Our firm makes every effort to move the depositions forward as scheduled.

At Cohen & Cohen law Group P.C., we will prepare you and guide you in the deposition process. Our attorneys will welcome the opportunity to speak with you concerning your accident. If you have been injured, contact us today for a free legal consultation.

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