Dec 13, 2017

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Deposition Basics

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The deposition process is a component to discovery that is often used in gathering testimony prior to trial legal situations. If you are recovering from a personal injury, a deposition can add more stress during a time that you are trying to heal from the accident. A personal injury attorney may be helpful in guiding you through the process by helping you understand what the expectations will be of you and how best to prepare for your deposition. Rest assured, the deposition process can go smoother if you have an understanding of the deposition process and what may be expected of you.

What is a Deposition?

A deposition allows for the opposing counsel to interview you outside of the courtroom. This is considered an on the record testimony that can be used in the event the case goes to trial. The attorney who is interviewing will base their questions around aspects or details of the personal injury that are relevant to the case.

Role of the Court Reporter

The court reporter, or stenographer, plays a large role throughout the deposition. They will transcribe all information that is shared during the deposition. Following the deposition, the court reporter will provide the attorneys involved with a copy of the deposition transcript. In some situations, you can expect to be recorded auditorily or visually, which can add to any jitters you may already be experiencing.  

Never Guess

  • In most cases, if you use the word “guess” during your deposition you can rest assured that the attorney will want to know more information. An estimate is a better term to use as it will appear to the attorney that your approximation is more knowledgeable than a guess.  
  • It can be challenging to recall the details that attorneys are asking you. They will be looking for case specifics, however, it is important that you not attempt to provide an answer when you do not have one. It is advised that you tell them you can’t recall or give them and estimation.

Never Speak Out of Turn

  • Do not interrupt or speak over anyone during the deposition, this can create confusion.
  • It will be difficult for the court reporter to capture clearly, which may prove difficult when transcribing the record. If everyone were talking out of turn, the transcription would not read in a way that would be helpful for anyone on the case.

Speak Loud and Clear

  • Answer questions with a verbal response. Do not nod your head or use gestures without a verbal answer. An attorney will always ask for an audible answer.
  • This allows for the court reporter to capture the response with ease. If you do use gestures, always be sure to verbally respond.

Working with a personal injury attorney can help ensure that you go into a deposition feeling prepared to answer the questions being asked of you by the opposing counsel. Enduring a legal process can be time consuming and stressful. An attorney can help you navigate through the legal process and the deposition smoothly.


Thanks to our friend and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions and court reporting.