A deposition is a question-and-answer session between an attorney and the party that is being deposed. A deposition is just one of many forms of discovery. Unlike the typical forms of discovery, which include asking for written information and providing documentation to support a position, a deposition is testimony that is live and requires an immediate response if the witness has knowledge of the subject being asked about. When a deposition occurs, there is a stenographer present who records the statement provided to the attorney. This preserves the testimony provided and can be used later in court.
Who can be Deposed?
Anyone with personal knowledge relating to an accident or incident can be deposed. It is most common for a plaintiff or defendant in a case to be deposed. Although many people believe that only parties to a case maybe be deposed, that is a common misconception. a deposition can be requested of anyone with personal knowledge of the accident or incident. In these instances, a deposition is often requested for witnesses who were present when the accident or incident took place.
Rules of a Deposition
Typically, when a deposition begins, a witness is told about some of the basic guidelines that follow depositions:
- Tell the truth. A deposition is a statement that is made under oath. All parties are obligated to tell the truth when providing a statement. In theory, if you misstate the truth in a statement given under oath formal charges for perjury may be brought against you.
- Only answer questions that you in fact, are sure of the answer to. Many times individuals believe that they should know the answer to a question that is asked when they really do not. This often leads to individuals guessing an answer that may or may not be the correct answer. Doing this is a big mistake, as an incorrect answer may discredit you and your testimony.
- Only answer questions that you have personal knowledge of. In many depositions witnesses often provide a “yes” or “no” answer to questions. When asked for a more detailed response the witness explains the fact was told to them by another individual. This is improper testimony.
- Maintain your composure. Depositions often allow an attorney to gauge how a witness will behave on the stand during a trial. It is important to refrain from becoming overly excited or agitated by an attorney. When this does in fact occur, it often tips off the attorney to a weakness within a witnesses’ testimony. The attorney is more likely to try to excite or agitate you while on the stand at a later time.
About Colombo Law
Colombo Law assists clients located in and around West Virginia including in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Kingwood Grafton, Weston, Philippi, Buckhannon, Elkins, Parkersburg, as well as Monongalia, Marian, Harrison, Preston, Taylor, and Lewis county. If you are unsure of whether you have a personal injury claim or how to proceed with obtaining monetary compensation, let one of our attorneys take the stress away from you. Contact one of our attorneys today.