What to Expect in a Deposition

A deposition is a question and answer session. The attorney representing the other party to the case will ask questions which are answered under oath. In my experience, Plaintiff depositions serve 3 general purposes. First, it allows the attorney to learn about the background of the Plaintiff. Second, it allows the Defendant to fully understand what the Plaintiff went through and how the accident has affected them. Third, it allows the attorney to determine whether a jury would like the Plaintiff.

The Importance of Depositions

Depositions are used by attorneys in preparing a case for trial. Once a Deposition is completed, the Court Reporter will create a transcript that can be ordered by the attorneys. Attorneys conduct depositions to preview a person’s testimony before the case goes to trial. This prevents surprises at trial. An attorney is at an advantage if he knows how a person will answer a question at trial before it is asked.

Who is Present at a Deposition?

The most important person at the deposition is the person being asked the questions.

The other people involved are the attorneys. In general, attorneys from both sides will attend the deposition. All parties to a case are allowed to attend. During the Deposition, the attorneys may object to certain questions that are asked in an improper fashion.

Another person at the deposition is the court reporter. The court reporter's role is to record what is said at the deposition. The court reporter will also swear the witness in. Because the deposition takes place outside of the courtroom, judges generally do not attend depositions. However, it is important to treat the deposition like

Finally, there are times where an attorney may want to video record the Deposition. Many times, a witness may not be available to attend the trial in person. In such a case, a company is hired to video record the Deposition.

Preparing for a Deposition

Before any of my clients have their deposition taken, I meet with them personally to thoroughly prepare them for the questions that will likely be asked of them. Having been in countless depositions, I can anticipate most of the questions that will be asked of my clients. While each deposition is different, I generally advise my clients of the following:

  • You are answering questions under oath. All of your answers must be truthful.
  • Listen to each question and only answer what is being asked.
  • If you don’t understand a question, please let the person questioning know.
  • Do not guess if you do not know the answer. Just say “I don’t know.”
  • Do not discuss any conversations that you had with your attorney. These conversations are protected by the attorney-client privilege.
  • You can take breaks at anytime to clear your mind.

Depositions can be nerve-racking if you have not been properly prepared. If you have any questions about an upcoming Deposition, contact Englander Peebles today.