New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Should You Videotape the Deposition of the Defendant
Posted on Oct 26, 2014 in Car Accidents
A deposition is a question and answer session that takes place before the trial. The answers are given under oath and the deposition usually takes place in the office of an attorney. The judge is not present at a deposition; however, a court reporter or stenographer will be noting down all the questions and their corresponding answers.
Video is Paramount
At the deposition, you can ask questions to the defendant whom you are suing for causing you harm and injury. The answers provided by the defendant under oath at the deposition are pretrial testimony, and they can be useful during the trial. If the court reporter is taking down all the question and answers, is there a need to videotape the deposition? The answer is yes, since video recording, pretrial testimony will provide certain advantages.
First, the video recording will provide a proper record of witnesses who may not come to testify during trail. Some witnesses may not be in town or they may purposely skip town at the time of trial. This does happen sometimes, but it is not a regular occurrence. Hence, if you have videotaped the testimony of such witnesses during deposition, it can be presented during trial as evidence.
Health Issues with the Witness
Videotaping the deposition is also helpful when the witness is ill, or is not expected to survive up to the time trial begins. In such instance, you would want to videotape the session of deposition, when such witness is answering questions. This way, the testimony of the witness can be preserved. At the time of the trial, the video can be replayed for the jury, so that they can actually see the questions asked and the answers that were given by the witness.
There is a huge difference between making the jury see how the witness actually answered the questions on video, compared to a dry reading of what was taken down by the court stenographer. The jury will not be able to grasp fully what took place, when only the transcripts of the questions and answers are read out in court during trial.
The jury can understand the questions and answers that are being read out, but there is a lot communicated by mannerisms, tone of voice, and appearance of the witness, which will be missing when the court reporter’s transcripts are simply read during trial. On the other hand, when there is a video recording, the jury will be able to see the witness actually testifying and answering the questions. They will know what the witness looked like, how the questions were answered, and how the witness reacted to the questions.
Video Brings a Vital Element to the Case
The questions and answers recorded at depositions can provide crucial evidence and testimony at the trial, especially when the witness is not available during trial. Even though the court reporter will be taking down the questions and answers, it is much better to videotape the proceedings, since a visual presentation will have much more effect on the jury.