What are they and how do they work?
At its core a deposition is simply recorded testimony, a way to gather information. Depositions typically happen outside the courtroom but act in the same way as if they were conducted in a courtroom. As in court, the person (sometimes called the defendant) is under oath, the attorneys are present, and any information obtained may be admissible in court during trial. Depositions are a crucial part of the legal process, especially in personal injury claims because all parties will have a statement to make regarding the events that occurred and this will ultimately help to determine who is at fault and the amount of compensation that is necessary to balance or equal the harm. The Depositions of all parties are frequently used to reach this decision.
If you are required to testify at a deposition, you should have been notified by subpoena in advance of the date. If you have received notice of a deposition then it is important to consult with your attorney prior to the day of the deposition. A subpoena or other type of written notice will be given to all the parties involved and will contain the place, time and location of the deposition. If you are unwilling to testify then you may be served with a subpoena compelling your compliance with the deposition request. Notice must be provided to all other parties to the lawsuit and include the name of the person to be deposed and the time and location of the deposition. It’s important to remember that you will be testifying under oath and your testimony must be truthful.
Depositions are typically conducted in a conference room or other meeting place. The present parties will most likely include an attorney for each party to the case, a court clerk or stenographer, and a person authorized to take oaths who is known for deposition purposes as an officer. Your testimony will be recorded and often transcribed, and will begin with you taking an oath to tell the truth. All parties involved in the personal injury case will be present or will conduct their own deposition at another time. Sometimes you may be required to do more than one day of deposition, especially if your case is complex.
The beginning of the deposition will state the officer’s name and business address along with the date, time and location of the deposition. Then the officer will ask you to take an oath, similar to the one that you take when testifying in court. He or she will also identify everyone in the room during the deposition. Then the party who requested the deposition will start asking you questions. Your attorney, or an attorney for another party to the lawsuit, has the right to make an objection to any questions asked of you. Generally, you will be required to answer the question despite the objection but your answer may be inadmissible in court if a judge finds the objection to be valid.
At the end of the deposition, the officer will state the official end time of the deposition. Once the deposition transcript is complete, you may be able to ask to see a copy of your deposition transcript. You then have thirty days to review and to make any necessary changes to the proposed transcript.
Obtaining the assistance of an experienced and skilled courtroom attorney is important because the deposition process is part of actual litigation. Your own deposition as an injured person is invaluable in your case prior to trial. Rest assured, our attorneys bring over 50 years of combined practice experience to the negotiation and litigation of your case. Call the Personal Injury Attorneys at Fisher Stark, P.A. today, 828.505.4300.