Updated May 28, 2019
A deposition is a procedure outside of court where an attorney gathers information and facts from a witness. Information to be later used in court is called a discovery. The findings during discovery may either lead the parties to a settlement or give reason for the parties to continue to trial.
Depositions are opportunities for each party to collect information before they appear in court. The most desired witnesses are frequently of the opposite party. Typically, an attorney performs the deposition, and a court reporter is present to transcribe the event. Some depositions are even videotaped. If the case does go to trial, the deposition of a witness can be used during trial if they are not available to testify in court.
A deposition typically takes place at the office of the attorney, court reporter, or the deponent. Both defending and prosecuting attorneys, witnesses, and a court reporter are present.
The witnesses or victims, also called deponents during a deposition, swear an oath to answer questions honestly. The court reporter will record the entire deposition and will later transcribe the session for each party to reference in preparation for both trial and examination of witnesses.
Before questions begin, the deponents are informed of rules to follow during the deposition. Deponents are instructed to give clear, verbal responses to the questions asked.
Next, the attorneys begin to question the deponents in what is called a direct examination. Thereafter, other attorneys present have an opportunity to cross-examine the witness. Either party may object to a question throughout the deposition. Deponent are allowed to modify their answers in review; however, the opposing attorney will make note of that during the examination in a trial.
The attorneys will ask questions about the accident or the event to fully understand the witness’ perspective and recollection of the accident. A deponent’s task is to answer questions simply, truthfully, and straightforwardly throughout the entire deposition.
After the deposition is complete, the court reporter will process a transcription of the session and provide documents for both parties.
Each side will have access to identical information. One can expect each side to exploit certain details with respect to their stance. Be aware that the same information can be interpreted in different ways. Depositions are extremely important in working up a case in preparation for either trial or settlement.
Not all cases require a deposition. Other ways of obtaining discovery include:
If our clients are deposed, we always meet with them beforehand to help them prepare and answer any questions they may have. The Personal Injury Attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham have decades of experience fighting for victims. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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