If you filed a lawsuit for the injuries you suffered as the result of a wreck, or from toxic chemical exposures, it is likely that the other side will want to take your deposition. Depositions involve the taking of sworn, out of court oral testimony in order to discover the facts surrounding your accident and the extent of your injuries prior to trial. This article will provide a general overview of the deposition process and outline some well-established principles. You should always meet with your attorney prior to your deposition so that they can prepare you for what to expect in your particular jurisdiction.
A deposition can be held anywhere. Among other locations, our office has conducted depositions in offices, homes, prisons, and hotels. The parties usually agree on a location. Typically, they are conducted at a lawyer’s office for one of the parties to the lawsuit. When choosing a location, the parties should consider the number of people who will be attending to make sure there is enough room for everyone.
Unless the court orders otherwise, all parties to the suit (as well as their lawyers) can attend every deposition. Depending on the specific case, there may be any number of lawyers and parties in attendance. Because the testimony is reduced to a written transcript, a reporter will also be present to record your testimony. If the deposition is video recorded, there likely be a videographer there to setup and operate video and audio in order to make sure that your testimony on the final video is clear, and that it can be understood if played later during settlement discussions or to a jury.
Depositions are official proceedings and they are guided by a set of rules. Despite what you may have seen on the internet, attorneys are required to cooperate and be courteous to each other and to the witness. They must conduct themselves as they would in open court. If they do not, the court may sanction them for misconduct. Ultimately, the number one rule for the person being deposed is to listen to the questions asked, answer to the best of their ability, and always tell the truth.
The subject matter covered in your deposition will depend on the claims made and the facts of the case. For example, if you filed a lawsuit for an auto accident, you can expect questions on the wreck, damages to your property, and your personal injuries. However, depositions are not limited to those topics only. The questions should be limited to only seek information that is either admissible at trial, or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. It is a broad net, but your attorney will be present to make sure that all parties follow the rules for depositions. And depending on the facts of your case, your deposition could last anywhere from half an hour to multiple days. These are the extreme limits. Typically, a plaintiffs’ deposition takes a few hours.
Depositions are a valuable tool for parties to prove and to defend their cases. Ultimately, this is a great opportunity for an injured plaintiff to tell their side of the story. While guided by rules, the length of time and subject matter of each deposition is largely depending on the facts of your particular case. If you think you may have a personal injury lawsuit, and to learn more about your legal rights, call Stag Liuzza to schedule a free confidential consultation.