What is the Legal Definition of Deposition?
A Deposition is an out of court sworn testimony of a witness that is reduced in writing for later use in court or for discovery purposes. It is also referred to as examination before trial and is a pretrial procedure.
A Notice of Deposition
A deposition takes place any time a person acts under oath to answer questions presented by an attorney. It usually occurs outside the courtroom and can take place in a lawyer’s office or in the office of a court reporter. The deposition allows the opposing lawyer to collect testimony that assists in the preparation of a case. The testimony taken during a deposition can be used at a trial. Once a party has answered a particular question during a deposition, the party is bound by the answer.
Depositions are part of the discovery process, which is the process by which the parties in civil cases gather facts about the case from each other and sometimes from other parties.
If you have been served with a lawsuit and given notice of deposition, you need to be prepared and ready for the questioning. Being prepared can make the deposition less stressful and time-consuming. It is most important to always remember that it is no different from you testifying in court.
There are proven and reliable recommendations for preparing for a deposition. Careful review of these guidelines before the meeting could make a difference in the outcome of the case.
- Slow down, pause and understand each question.
- Ask the attorney to either repeat or rephrase any question you are unsure about.
- Listen carefully to the question and try to answer it with a yes or a no. Avoid narrations and long stories.
- Never think that you must have 100% total recall. If you do not remember, say “I’m sorry, but I do not remember that.”
- Answer the question only if you have firsthand knowledge of the incident in question. Never guess or speculate about the answer.
- Do not state facts that support your defense. That is the attorney’s job. Your answer can be a simple “I don’t know”.
- Ask to speak with your attorney if you need help.
- You can ask to take a break. Do this as often as necessary. Mental fatigue can cause careless answers.
- Take your time. Don’t let the opposing attorney think you are in a hurry to leave.
If you can follow these guidelines, your deposition can be a less troublesome experience. If you can show the opposing party that you are confident about your legal position, and you are not afraid to go to court, the process will be more professional and the outcome more favorable.
Please call our office at 877-603-8473 with any legal concerns or questions about a deposition.