A deposition is an imperative part of the discovery process where each party involved in a lawsuit can gather information and facts from key witnesses of the case to either: a) get a better picture of the case to reach a settlement agreement, or b) better prepare themselves in court by gathering important evidence and testimonies.
The information derived from a deposition is what we refer to as “discovery” and can be used in court if the case advances to trial. However, it is important to note that majority of cases end up settling before the case escalates to trial. This is generally because the trial process is incredibly expensive and lengthy.
What to Expect at a Deposition
Depositions usually take place at the office of the plaintiff’s attorney, the court reporting company, or the office of the deponent’s attorney. Both the defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney, any key witnesses, and a court reporter and/or legal videographer and translator (if needed) will be present.
Before a deposition begins
The witnesses (or victims), also referred to as deponents during a deposition will swear an oath to answer questions honestly. The court reporter will record the entire deposition from start to finish, and will later transcribe the deposition for each party to refer to in preparation for trial.
Before the attorneys begin questioning, the deponents are provided a set of rules to follow during the deposition. Deponents must give clear, verbal responses to each question asked.
Your attorney may also brief you beforehand to instruct you of what you should expect during the deposition, including questions that may be asked. However, it is important to note that their preparation is based on speculation. Your attorney will have no control over the questions the opposing counsel will ask.
During the deposition
Next, the attorneys will conduct a direct examination. Direct examination is the process of undergoing questioning by attorneys, to each individual deponent. Once this has been completed, any other attorney present will have an opportunity to cross-examine the deponents. If a question asked is far fetched or incriminating, you may object to any question at any time. The deponent may modify their answers in review; however, any changes made will be documented and can be used in preparation for trial.
During the examination, the attorneys will ask questions about the accident to gain a full understanding of the deponents’ point of view regarding the accident. A deponent’s responsibility is to answer each question as briefly and truthfully as possible throughout the duration of the deposition.
After the deposition
Once the deposition is complete, the court reporter and/or legal videographer will process a transcription of the session, known as a transcript, and will provide a certified copy for all parties.
Each side is provided in the same document; however, you should remember that the same information can still be interpreted differently. Depositions are crucial in preparing a case for either trial or reaching a settlement.
Does every lawsuit require a deposition?
No. Not every case requires a deposition. There are other ways of obtaining discovery, including interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and requests for admissions. A deposition is, however, the most popular form of discovery.
Contact The Injury Firm Today
At The Injury Firm, if our clients are deposed, we will ALWAYS meet with them beforehand to prepare them for their deposition. We want your case to be as successful as possible, and preparation is key to achieving that.