A deposition is a legal statement given under oath – meaning, answering questions truthfully under the penalty of perjury. Depositions are the legal equivalent of testifying in court.
Typically, there are no limitations on the types of questions that may be asked during a deposition.
In a personal injury case, depositions can range from questions regarding a witness’ medical history to what a witness was thinking following an incident. Unlike trials where questions are more specific, deposition questions tend to be broader.
Despite some questions being invasive, a witness is obligated to answer all questions asked during a deposition. Attorneys can make objections to the questions being asked; however, judges are not present at the depositions and any objections are ruled on at a later date.
Your attorney can help you prepare for the questions that may come. The personal injury lawyers at Patterson Law Group are happy to help you with your depositions. Call us today at 817-784-2000.
What Is The Purpose Of A Deposition?
Depositions serve two primary purposes.
First, they allow personal injury attorneys to gather information and facts from witnesses the attorney believes will help their client’s position in a case or hurt the opposing party’s position.
Second, depositions preserve a witness’ testimony. In addition, depositions can lead to the revelation of additional relevant documents or other evidence.
Depositions tend to promote settlement agreements or narrow down the issues that should be addressed at trial.
Typically, most cases are resolved without the need for a trial. The time and expense of depositions are often significant factors in settlement considerations.
Therefore, depositions can be a crucial turning point in cases even before the first question is asked.
Depositions are usually held at an attorney’s office or at an agreed upon location outside of the court.
How Are Depositions Conducted?
If you’re working with a personal injury lawyer, depositions happen during the discovery phase.
During the deposition, the court reporter will give the oath and explain that the deposition will be recorded. Before questions begin, the witness (“deponent”) is informed of the rules of the deposition.
Counsel will then begin to question the deponent in direct examination.
Opposing counsel will have an opportunity to give a cross-examination of the deponent. Often there are several rounds of re-direct and re-cross by the attorneys.
A deponent’s sole job is to answer the questions truthfully throughout the entire deposition.
When the deposition is finished, the court reporter will transcribe the testimony and provide copies of the transcript and any evidence entered into the record to both parties.
Each party will use the information gathered during the deposition to reassess their case strengths and weaknesses.
As a result, depositions are crucial in working up a case in preparation for either personal injury settlement or trial.
What Rules Govern Depositions?
The guidelines for oral depositions are outlined in Rule 199 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. In addition, the Texas Rules of Evidence and any local rules of the court govern depositions as well.
Rule 199 requires that notice must be given to the deponent. The notice to the deponent will include information as to the location, date, time, and which party will be conducting the deposition.
In addition, the notice of deposition may also instruct the deponent to bring documents or other items in the deponent’s possession.
If a notice of deposition has been issued for an individual to appear for a deposition, it’s important to comply with the notice.
Failure to comply with the notice can lead to a finding of contempt, which can lead to jail time.
4 Things to Remember When Going Through A Deposition
If you ever find yourself as a witness in a deposition, remember these four things:
- Tell the truth
- Listen carefully to each question asked
- Only answer the question asked
- Always consult with an attorney prior to the deposition
Have More Questions About Depositions in Texas? Talk To A Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re preparing for a deposition for your personal injury case in the Fort Worth area, talk to an experienced lawyer to help you. Contact the team at Patterson Law Group to see how we can help you.
Other relevant articles:
- Most Common Q&A On Personal Injury Cases
- How To Choose The Best Personal Injury Attorney For Your Case
- What Happens If Your Insurance Case Is Denied?