A deposition is a pretrial discovery procedure that enables both parties to a
personal injury lawsuit to obtain relevant information in preparation of trial or settlement.
The deponent, the person being deposed, answers questions from an attorney,
under oath. This sworn testimony is usually taken outside of court (i.e.
law office) before a court reporter who prepares a written transcript
of the words exchanged between the parties.
A deposition is similar to a trial in that one attorney examines a witness
through the questioning process followed by opposing counsel's cross-examination.
During questioning, the other attorney may raise objections. However,
unlike a trial, a judge is not present to rule on the objections. The
objections are noted on the written transcript for court record. Under
special circumstances, a deponent may decline to answer a particular question.
Experienced Poughkeepsie personal injury attorneys understand that depositions allow for the discovery of when and how a
particular injury occurred. During questioning, important facts can surface
giving both parties the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses
of their case. Attorneys will ask questions that relate to the facts of
the case as well as the elements of each claim. Parties can also examine
how a witness will conduct him or herself during trial.
Due to the lengthy and intimidating nature of a deposition, a party to
the suit or a witness who has knowledge of the facts will not typically
attend a deposition at his or her own volition. Therefore,
a well-seasoned Poughkeepsie attorney will issue a subpoena to compel attendance at the deposition. The subpoena
commands a person to appear at a specified time and place to give testimony.
Sworn testimony obtained during a deposition is not only used for pretrial
preparation. Certain circumstances render it admissible during court proceedings
such as a hearing or at trial. The recorded testimony may be used to contradict
or impeach the testimony given by the deponent as a witness. It can also
be used to refresh the memory of the deponent or read into the record
if he or she is not available to testify at trial.
It is very critical to seek
legal representation during a deposition. Answering questions without the assistance of an
attorney can have deleterious effects on one's recorded testimony.
A common strategy of examining attorneys is to phrase questions in broad
terms in order to ignite a drawn-out answer from the deponent, which runs
the risk of providing too much information. A deponent's attorney
will advise the client to answer only the question asked in a clear and
concise manner as well as when to raise objections to other questions.
Learn about the steps involved in a personal injury action in the latest
article from our attorneys
available here. Find out about the discovery phase of a lawsuit in
our blog post here.
Our personal injury attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O'Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious car accidents, particularly
throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and
Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.