How To Answer Questions In A Deposition
Giving a deposition is not similar to testimony given in court despite the fact that people give testimonies during the deposition process. Testimonies are given during depositions to help both sides involved in the case to find out more about the case. Every side involved in a case has the right to conduct discovery or formal investigation before the actual trial begins. A judge is not present during depositions, only the defense side and the plaintiff side and their witnesses are present.
The Purposes Of Depositions
At a deposition hearing, one side involved in the case is allowed to question a witness to find out what the witness knows about the case. A witness cannot change the testimony the witness gave at a deposition hearing when the case moves to trial. Any witness that changes their testimony during trial can be impugned or impeached. A deposition also helps preserve the testimonies of witnesses who may not be available to testify during the trial.
The deposition of a party involved in the case can be used as testimony during trial. Your attorney will talk to all witnesses for your side to ensure that they do not give a testimony that may undermine your case. Both sides involved in the case can use the deposition to identify weaknesses that they can use against the other side at trial.
Where Do Depositions Take Place?
Depositions do not happen in a courtroom but are instead carried out at attorneys’ offices. There will be a court reporter present recording the entire deposition word-for word. During the deposition hearing lawyers from both sides ask witnesses questions about events and facts related to the lawsuit. Individuals that give out-of-court testimony under oath in a deposition are called deponents. Since the questions in depositions can be broader than what’s allowed at trial, your lawyers can make objections to some questions that may be inappropriate.
For example, your attorney may object to questions that seek to discover things such as attorney-client communication. But you are expected to answer all proper questions even if your lawyer objects. The deposition can last for only fifteen minutes or take longer than a week depending on how complex your case is.
Success At A Deposition
You should understand how depositions work if you want it to be a success. Generally, you need to tell the truth if you want to be a good witness at a deposition. All you will need to do at a deposition is to strictly answer the questions the examiner asks you. Do not expand your answers into topics that the examiner never asked you to talk about. You can easily lose a case by saying more in your answers than was needed. Remember that you cannot win your case at a deposition because it is not the actual trial. Some of the things you should do to have success at a deposition include:
- Tell the truth even if the answer seems damaging to your case because a false response can lead to even more damage to your case
- Do not tell the examiner what you discussed with your attorney
- Listen to the question asked and then pause before you answer
- When you attorney objects to a question asked stop answering the question
- Do not express anger at a deposition because the other side may only try to make you angrier