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Definition - What does Deposition mean?

A deposition is sworn testimony for a personal injury lawsuit. As part of the pre-trial discovery phase it allows a witness to provide sworn testimony which can later be used in court. Witnesses are compelled to testify at a deposition through a subpoena. The subpoena will list the date, time, and location of the deposition.

Purpose of the deposition

The deposition allows important information about a personal injury case to be gathered from all parties who have knowledge of the facts. It also allows both attorneys for the defense and prosecution to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the injury claim and determine how and where the injury occurred.

The deposition is generally held at the law office or the court reporter's office. Each lawyer will be given the chance to ask questions, cross-examine, and object to questions. Deponents generally are required to answer all questions, with limited exceptions, and objections to questions are noted but not ruled upon.

Dos and don'ts of a deposition

If you have been scheduled to give a deposition at a personal injury case it is time to talk to a personal injury lawyer.

There are basic guidelines for a deposition. The first and most important thing to do is to tell the truth. Do not guess, assume, or speculate. If you do not know the answer to the question simply say that you do not know. Listen to the question which is being asked and answer as succinctly as possible. Do not to volunteer information.

Do not argue with the lawyer or lose your temper. Do not answer a question unless you know and understand what has been asked. If necessary, rephrase the question or ask to have the question repeated. Answer briefly but fully without continuing to talk after you have answered the question. It is okay to simply say "yes" or "no." It is also okay to say "I do not know."

Do not exaggerate your answer in any way. It is fine to answer in short, simple statements. Do not answer a question if you do feel it would only be a guess. Take your time before you talk. If you are asked to review any documents or evidence make sure you completely review the information before answering questions. Do not answer if your lawyer has made an objection. Finally, if you need a break, ask for one.


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