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What is a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case

June 2, 2015 Legal Terminology

What is the Purpose of having a Deposition?

A deposition is a pivotal part of any personal injury case, whether it is medical malpractice case, accident case, or even a wrongful death case. It is held far before the trial commences, and during this session, the defense attorney has the opportunity to question you, the victim, about the claim you are making.

Personal injury Case

The validity of your personal injury claim is tested by attorneys during the deposition.

The aim of the questioning will be to find out, what exactly happened to you, what injuries you suffered because of that incident, and what treatment have your received for your injuries so far. If it is a wrongful death case, the plaintiff will be questioned about how the person in question had died and what the supposed reasons were for his death.

Where does the Deposition take Place?

The deposition or the pretrial question and answer session will usually take place in either one of the attorney’s offices. There is no judge present at this session. Despite this a court reporter will be present, who will record everything in stenographic form. Depositions can also be recorded in video along with the stenographic recording by the court reporter.

What is a Transcript?

At the end of the session, the court reporter will put together, a transcript of all the questions and answers that took place during the session. This transcript will be in the form of a booklet, which will be mailed to you or to your attorney. Most importantly, your lawyer will ask you to read the transcript, to make sure all that you have said at the deposition has been transcribed accurately. If there are errors, you will have to note down the errors on a separate paper, sign the transcript, attach the paper with the errors, and send the whole bunch of documents back to your attorney.

After you have finished reading the transcript, your lawyer will keep a copy of the transcript and send the original to the defense attorney. The transcript that is generated out of the deposition is as meaningful as a sworn testimony that you have given in this case. The transcript can be used at trial to cross-examine you or to discuss avenues that have not been walked down by your attorney or by the defense lawyer.

The answers you give during the deposition are given the same status as a sworn testimony you might give in a court of law. Therefore, you need to answer all the questions during a deposition honestly. If you make statements during trial that are contradictory to what you have said during the deposition, the defense lawyer will use the transcript to discredit you in front of the jury and you will not be a content person at that juncture or point in time. Once you are discredited, your case is as good as lost, as the jury is not likely to believe your claim.