A deposition is a tool used by attorneys during the discovery stage of litigation to obtain evidence for building and defending a case for an impending trial. Depositions preserve testimony of the parties and witnesses to be used at trial. Depositions can be taken for an individual, or it can be taken of an agent of a business. The goal is to commit the witness to a specific version of the events.
A deposition allows attorneys to ask questions relating to anything reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. That does not mean that the information sought is itself admissible.
It is not uncommon that witnesses or parties are located across the country or around the world. For this reason, depositions may be taken by lawyers in person, by video, or by telephone. Also, it is common to take a deposition for use at trial by the treating physician because the physician will be unavailable to testify at trial. In such a case, the attorney and court reporter will go to the doctor's office to conduct the deposition. As a sample, treating doctors may be asked:
During the deposition of the Plaintiff and the Defendant in the case, attorneys will typically inquire about the contact between the parties involved. For example, in motor vehicle accidents, the deposing attorneys may seek information regarding communications between to the Plaintiff and Defendant at the scene of the vehicle crash, or whether statements were heard by the other party after the crash.
Depositions may also provide notice requiring that the witness bring evidence with them to the deposition. In addition, the entire deposition is recorded and transcribed, unless the attorneys agree to go off the record. It is important to prepare with your attorney in advance in preparation for your deposition.