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Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Explains how We Use Depositions in Trial

Guy DiMartino Oct. 31, 2014

Northwest Indiana personal injury lawyer explains how we use depositions in trial.

The deposition is one of the most useful tools during the discovery process of a lawsuit. As a reminder, a deposition is a statement (question and answer period) that is taken before a court reporter. In Indiana, depositions can also be videoed with proper notice to the parties. Depositions have a number of purposes, which include: (1) discovering the facts of the case; (2) seeing how a witness acts under pressure; (3) preserving testimony; and (4) locking down a witness's version of the events.

Indiana Deposition Rules

Indiana Rule of Trial Procedure 32 states:

Use of depositions: At the trial or upon the hearing of a motion or an interlocutory proceeding, any part or all of a deposition, so far as admissible under the Rules of Evidence applied as though the witness were then present and testifying, may be used against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the deposition, by or against any party who had reasonable notice thereof or by any party in whose favor it was given in accordance with any one [1] of the following provisions:

(1) Any deposition may be used by any party for the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the testimony of deponent as a witness.

(2) The deposition of a party, or an agent or person authorized by a party to testify or furnish such evidence or of anyone who at the time of taking the deposition was an officer, director, or managing agent, executive officer or a person designated under Rule 30(B)(6) or 31(A) to testify on behalf of an organization, including a governmental organization, or partnership which is a party may be used by an adverse party for any purpose.

(3) The deposition of a witness, whether or not a party, may be used by any party for any purpose if the court finds:

(a) that the witness is dead; or

(b) that the witness is outside the state, unless it appears that the absence of the witness was procured by the party offering the deposition; or

(c) that the witness is unable to attend or testify because of age, sickness, infirmity, or imprisonment; or

(d) that the party offering the deposition has been unable to procure the attendance of the witness by subpoena; or

(e) upon application and notice, that such exceptional circumstances exist as to make it desirable, in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of presenting the testimony of witnesses orally in open court, to allow the deposition to be used; or

(f) upon agreement of the parties.

(4) If only part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party, an adverse party may require him to introduce any other part which ought in context to be considered with the part introduced, and any party may introduce any other parts.

How we will use depositions in our Indiana personal injury or medical malpractice case

There are pretty much two ways in which we use depositions in an Indiana personal injury or medical malpractice:

  • Deposition is read or played to the jury as actual testimony: If a witness is unavailable for trial or an expert witness who cannot leave their office (mostly doctors) the deposition can be read or played for the jury. The court will provide the jury with an instruction that says:

Members of the jury, the sworn testimony of (name), given before trial, will now be presented. You are to consider and weigh this testimony as you would any other evidence in the case.

  • Impeachment: The most familiar use of depositions in trial for the average person is impeachment. Deposition testimony can be used to impeach a witness' credibility, if the witness' testimony at trial is different or contradicts their deposition testimony.

Depositions are an important part of the lawsuit process. If things go wrong in a deposition, the case can go wrong. If you have any questions regarding an Indiana personal injury or medical malpractice case, you can call one of our Northwest Indiana personal injury lawyers(s) or fill out the internet consultation form on the right side of the screen.