A deposition is an oral testimony taken outside of the courtroom, typically as a part of the discovery process. A deposition is taken under oath, and a court reporter is generally present, as well as attorneys for both sides.
Understanding the Purpose of a Deposition
There are two general reasons why counsel will depose someone in a Pennsylvania civil case:
To Learn the Facts
The purpose of the discovery process is to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. It is the investigation period of a civil case. When we handle a case for a client, we often need to know things we can only learn from the at-fault driver, a property owner, or an expert witness. When this happens, we can ask them to give a deposition, or legally compel them to give one in some cases.
For example, if you suffered an injury in an accident caused by poor maintenance of a truck, we might need to depose those tasked with maintaining the fleet to learn about their service schedules and how they ensure each vehicle gets the service it requires regularly.
To Put Facts Onto the Case Record
In some cases, we already have a general idea of the facts, but we need to record them as a part of the official case record. This is especially important in cases that require medical or industry experts. Knowing how an expert will testify or being able to enter their deposition into evidence, can make or break a case.
You May Face a Deposition in Your Own Case
The injured party — of plaintiff — in a personal injury case may need to give a deposition in their own case. This is common and nothing to stress out about. We will be by your side and help you understand what to expect. The lawyer representing the at-fault party will ask you a series of questions, then we may do the same.
If we settle your case before we go to trial, this will be your only opportunity to set the record straight and have your side of the story heard in your own words. All you will need to do is answer the questions based on your memories of the accident or incident, to the best of your ability.
Depositions May Be Vital to the Outcome of Your Case
While many people view depositions as preparation for trial, it is important to remember that they may be critical to the outcome in your case. Expert witnesses, eyewitnesses, and others can make a significant difference in many types of cases, including:
In general, we will not settle a case that may benefit from an expert witness until we get a deposition. We may be able to prove your case requires additional ongoing care costs or that you will have future medical needs by calling in an expert medical witness, for example.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney in Pittsburgh About Your Case Today
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