Category Archives: depositions

Depositions: When the truth is “I don’t know”

Today’s post comes from guest author Brianne Rohner, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

“Tell the truth” is some good advice we’ve all heard and hopefully listened to once in a while. However, when it comes to having your deposition taken, this advice can take on a slightly different meaning. Our experienced attorneys guide hundreds of clients through depositions each year, so we often see this challenge.   

It is human nature to seek answers to our questions. But sometimes in our quest for satisfaction, we have a hard time resisting the urge to make a leap or two, or start to speculate, or make assumptions about potential solutions. This is particularly true when we are faced with a formal line of questions such as those asked in a deposition. We feel guilty and lacking somehow if we don’t know the answer to a question, or we can’t remember a name or date or what happened between the blow to the head and waking up in the hospital. … It gives us a good feeling inside and relieves a little pressure to at least try to put the puzzle pieces together for the person asking the question. We’re nervous, and it just goes against our helpful natures to simply say “I don’t know.” 

Sometimes, though, this very human trait can lead to problems for a case. At some point in the midst of these leaps in logic and speculation on answers to questions, our answer can transform into something that is no longer the truth. While speculating or thinking out loud isn’t lying, when you get down to it, it isn’t really telling the truth either. Sometimes the absolute, 100% honest-to-goodness truth is simply, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember,” and that is a perfectly okay answer to give. When your words have the power to potentially damage your case, it is important to choose them wisely, and remember you do not need to give in to the pressure of making assumptions or jumping to conclusions to come up with a satisfactory answer. Just tell the truth.

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