Depositions are question-and-answer sessions where witnesses provide testimony under oath. Usually held outside of courtroom and led by an attorney.
Depositions are part of the discovery process and often utilized during trials. They’re recorded so that testimony can be reviewed later.
Definition of a Deposition
Depositions are an official way for parties in litigation to conduct discovery proceedings. Depositions involve question-and-answer sessions with witnesses under oath at locations other than court before trial begins; their answers are typically transcribed for pretrial discovery purposes and usually need a subpoena or notice from one side or both parties to attend.
Depositions typically take place at either of the law firms involved or at a conference room; however, they can also take place at either of their business or home locations of witnesses and can even be videotaped for added transparency.
At your deposition, opposing counsel will pose questions designed to assess your knowledge of the facts pertaining to the case. Some questions may be challenging or probing, so it is essential that you remain calm and answer truthfully when answering each inquiry. If any question seems unfair or irrelevant, feel free to object and have this noted in the transcript.
Depositions for Trial
Depositions are used in litigation to provide a more complete understanding of the events at play. They allow attorneys to question witnesses that may not be accessible during trial, prepare for summary judgment motions, and may lead to the discovery of pertinent documents.
At a deposition, both defense and prosecuting attorneys are present. One attorney will begin direct examination, followed by other attorneys being given the chance to cross-examine witnesses. Once complete, this statement will be transcribed and used during trial proceedings.
Witnesses must always answer all questions honestly and truthfully under oath, including any that they are uncertain of the answers for. If they are uncertain, it’s best for them to state this fact rather than guessing at answers as that constitutes lying under oath and can have serious repercussions. Although objections are sometimes lodged during depositions, usually this doesn’t prevent further questioning from taking place.
Depositions for Mediation
Once a lawsuit has been filed, both sides can depose witnesses in order to gather information and prepare for trial. Witness testimony is an essential component of personal injury cases; attorneys need a sense of what each witness will say on the stand before taking them before the judge.
Depositions typically take place outside of courtroom and involve attorneys, witnesses and a court reporter; additional professionals such as investigators or expert witnesses may be present as well.
At a deposition, it is essential for lawyers to put witnesses at ease so they provide candid answers. This can be accomplished using familiarity, humor and gentle questioning methods; avoid making statements such as ‘pointing at this” and “head nodding”, since these will likely end up on transcript and used against you at trial as evidence.