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Indiana Lawyer Explains the Purpose of Deposition

Guy DiMartino Oct. 31, 2014

The deposition in your Northwest Indiana personal injury case will be the most important task that an injured person does.

Over the last few years with the economic woes, insurance companies have tightened their belts with offers to people injured in accidents whether it is a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident or slip and fall. The insurance companies have forced a lot of injured people to make a tough decision of whether to settle their case for less money or taking the risk of filing a lawsuit.

If you have filed a lawsuit or are thinking about filing a lawsuit, a deposition will be the most activity you will do in your case. The deposition can make or break a case. This is why I spend a lot of time preparing my clients for their depositions. A client cannot be over prepared for their deposition.

What is a Deposition?

A deposition of statement under oath that will be performed by the other party(s) attorney(s). Everything in the deposition will be taken down by a court report and possibly video. It is different than a normal conversation because the deposition has a number of rules.

Because the court report is taking down every word said – it is very important to allow the other person to finish their entire question or statement before the witness begins to speak.

The environment can be intimidating because it will appear formal – usually around a conference table with the court report and possibly a videographer.

The deponent (person answering the questions) has to be very careful about the words they use in a deposition because when a lawyer, judge or jury sees the words written on paper, they can have a totally different meaning than intended in the deposition.

Purpose of the Deposition

I believe the deposition has three main purposes:

  1. Sizing up the party or witness. Following the deposition, the attorney will be reporting to the insurance company. In the report, the attorney will comment on the witnesses look, presentation, credibility and how a jury will respond to the witness' testimony.

  2. Locking in the witness' story as to the facts or the accident – if there is a dispute regarding the facts of the incident, the other attorney will focus on every detail regarding the accident in question.

  3. Locking in the injured person's testimony regarding past medical history, past medical treatment, injuries sustained in the accident, medical treatment, and the impact the injury has had on the person's life. This information will be cross-checked against medical and insurance records.

With more lawsuits having to be filed to get proper value out of personal injury cases, injured people will be giving their depositions. If a witness' or party's testimony at trial differs from the testimony provided in deposition, the credibility of that witness will be lost – which could lose the injured person's case. Understanding the rules and purpose of deposition, will assist the personal injury claimant with the process and hopefully strengthen not weaken their case.

If you have any questions about a Northwest Indiana personal injury case, you can call our Michigan City personal injury lawyers or fill out the internet consultation form to the right of the screen.