What Happens in Your Deposition Will Likely Affect the Outcome of Your Case
You have good reason to be nervous about appearing for your deposition. No matter how much the opposing attorney may try to put you at ease, your deposition may be the most important event in your case—and can be even more effective than your testimony in court.
What happens in a deposition?
A deposition gives the opposing attorney a chance to ask you questions about your case. Unlike a court testimony, you will not be given a chance to tell your whole story to the opposing counsel. Rather, the opposing attorney will ask you direct questions about your story and you will have to provide clear, accurate answers.
Why are depositions necessary?
Depositions are part of the legal discovery process. When a lawsuit is filed, both sides have the right to conduct an investigation into the facts of the case. This involves requests for records, documents, and witness testimony that can help paint a picture of what happened in court.
Since documents and other evidence admitted in the case can be taken at face value, it is necessary to have each witness tell his story under oath so that a written account can be provided for the trial. This ensures that witness testimony is preserved and that his story remains constant throughout the course of the suit.
Who will be at your deposition?
- Opposing counsel. A member of the opposing counsel team will be present to ask you questions about your case.
- A court reporter. The court reporter will record the questions and your responses and create a written transcript (which you should later review for any mistakes).
- Your attorney. Your attorney should be on hand in order to protect you from answering any misleading or irrelevant questions that could damage your case.
Will I be on the stand?
Depositions do not usually take place in court, but are typically held in an attorney’s office or conference room. If the opposing attorney is in another city, clients may consider the benefits of a videoconferencing for depositions, especially since these meetings can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days in order to collect all relevant information.
The reason depositions are so important to your case is that you will be giving a written statement of your story to all involved parties. If you change or modify your answers to these questions in court, the jury might see you as an unreliable witness, threatening the outcome of the suit. Read the related links below to prepare for common pitfalls of a deposition, or read our client testimonials for real-life accounts of deposition success.