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At depositions, witnesses appear at a predetermined time and place and give testimonies under oath. Depositions typically occur during the discovery phase of a lawsuit and have two purposes: first to learn what the witnesses know and to record their testimonies, and second to allow both parties to learn all of the facts before their trial so that no one is caught off-guard during the trial.
The unique facts and circumstances of each case will determine whether a deposition is needed or not. For example, cases that involve only legal, not factual, issues usually do not require depositions. Witness testimony and other evidence are not relevant to these disputes.
What are depositions used for? A deposition has two purposes:
The deposition is part of the discovery process and may be used at trial.
The discovery process is a pre-trial phase. It is a formal investigation conducted to uncover more about the case. It can also drive the opposing sides to come to a settlement without having to go to trial.
A deposition is a simple procedure, a session of questions asked by the opposing counsel that the witness has to answer. The focus for the witness is not on telling his or her story, but on telling the truth to the opposing counsel.
During a deposition, attorneys will ask the witness a series of questions related to the case. The entire deposition is either:
After the deposition, the court reporter prepares a written transcript. Copies are sent to all parties, and the transcript is reviewed for inconsistencies or mistakes. Your lawyer will evaluate your deposition and give you an assessment.
The written transcript may be used in a potential trial. Deposition transcripts and other discovery materials are generally not considered part of the public record, but they become so when filed with the court. When a deposition becomes part of a public court record, it may be accessed for a long time after the case is over.
To make sure that all the aspects have been covered before the trial, Miami-based The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary will help you prepare the deposition statement in advance by summarizing all the important aspects of your case. We advise all our clients to take pictures or make videos, which clearly show the state they were in shortly after they have been injured.