What is a Deposition?

November 22, 2020

What is a deposition? A deposition is an important part of the discovery process in civil lawsuits. In this guide, we will explain what a deposition is, how they are conducted, and what they mean for the parties involved.

Understanding the Basics

In legal terms, a deposition involved a witness providing sworn testimony under oath, but outside of court. A lawyer asks a series of  questions to the person being deposed, known as the deponent. Meanwhile, a court reporter transcribes the session. Often these sessions are also video-recorded. Ultimately the transcript or video can be used in future court hearings or trials.

Preparing for a Deposition and What It Means for You

Received a summons for a deposition? Don’t fret; preparation is your best friend. Your personal injury lawyer will coach you on potential deposition questions and key points to focus on. Never go through with a sworn oral examination without this prep, as it will likely affect the outcome of your case.

While truthfulness is non-negotiable, even your choice of words, tone and attire can significantly influence your witness testimony and, ultimately, your case's outcome. Therefore, deposition preparation is invaluable. Make sure you review important documents from your case to refresh your memory.

The Purpose of a Deposition

Depositions serve several purposes:

  • Establishing what a witness knows or does not know;
  • Preserving witness testimony for trial;
  • Identifying key evidence; and
  • Assessing the witness's credibility.

What's A Deposition Like? Rules and Procedures

Governed by specific state or federal laws, depositions have their own set of rules. In Georgia, for example, the key statute is O.C.G.A. §9-11-30. The court reporter initiates the deposition, ensuring an accurate record is maintained. Next the attorney will go over the ground rules for how the deposition will be conducted., before diving into questions and answers.

Listen to your attorney's advice. Unless you have been instructed otherwise, by your attorney, you must answer all questions. And remember, attending your deposition is not optional. Luckily, most sworn examinations take place virtually, adding to their convenience.

Depositions in Personal Injury Cases

Your deposition can be a game-changer in your personal injury case. Having detailed knowledge about your case will only help you. This includes the incident, your injuries, medical treatment, missed work, and the effects your injuries had on your life.

Your personal injury attorney plays a critical role in preparing you for this legal interrogation. Together, you will explore what is deposition and how it will help all parties to gather necessary information about your case.

Conclusion: Why Depositions Matter

More than just a Q&A, a deposition is a vital tool in the legal process for gathering information and witness statements. So whether you are prepping for a deposition or just seeking to understand one, knowing how they function is key.

At Georgia Trial Attorneys, we are dedicated to ensuring you feel comfortable and ready for your oral examination. Our team will guide you through the process, easing any anxieties and providing a clear understanding of what to expect. Download our exclusive One-Page Guide for Deposition Preparation or for more information and support, reach out to us at 833-4The-Win.

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