Depositions 101: What You Need To Know

Are you nervous about your upcoming deposition? Or perhaps you know someone who is going to a deposition and are looking for answers. No matter the reason, we are here to help you understand what a deposition is, why it’s important and why you shouldn’t be nervous about it. It may sound intimidating, yet it is actually quite simple. Take a look below to find some answers to your questions about depositions.

What Is A Deposition?

A deposition is not a part of the trial. In a lawsuit, the parties involved have the right to find out more about the case before going to trial. This is called the conduct discovery. It typically takes place at an attorney’s office, not in a courtroom. In this formal investigation, the witness is under oath to answer questions honestly and give their statement. In some cases, the deposition may be videotaped. They can last any amount of time from 20 minutes to a week or more.

What Happens During A Deposition?

It is basically a question and answer session. If you answer honestly to the opposing counsel’s questions, you will have nothing to be concerned about. They will ask you questions about the case to gather information that will then be used later in the trial. As you answer these questions, a court reporter will record your answers in a written transcript that you can later review.

What is The Purpose of Depositions?

There are a few reasons why depositions are necessary. While many people may think that this is their chance to tell their side of the story, this is not the case. A deposition is when the opposing counsel asks you questions to gather information that they can use later. The opposing counsel’s purpose is to get you to tell a specific story that you will have to use in court. This way they will know what you’re going to say and how to prepare. And lastly, they also may try to catch you telling a lie. However, as stated before, if you tell the truth during the deposition, then you should have nothing to worry about.

How To Answer The Opposing Counsel’s Questions

We understand that if this is a new experience for you, you may be nervous. Remember that everything you say will be recorded by a court reporter, so your main concern should be speaking slowly and precisely, thinking about your answers before saying them. You will be under oath, so you must answer truthfully, however, it is acceptable to answer, “I don’t remember,” if that is the truth.

Another helpful tip for answering questions is to make sure that you understand what the attorney is asking. If you are unsure what they are asking, speak up and ask for clarification and that you don’t understand their question.

Also, make sure that you let the attorney finish their questions before giving your answer. When people are nervous or anticipate questions, they sometimes speak too soon and this creates a problem because a court reporter cannot write two different dialogues when two people are speaking at once. To avoid this take your time to think for a moment, collecting your thoughts and/or emotions and then answer when it’s your turn to speak.