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WHAT IS A DEPOSITION?

WHAT IS A DEPOSITION?

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You were involved in a car crash, and you’re thinking about bringing a lawsuit, but you hear that you may have to give a deposition and you don’t know what a deposition is. Well, first of all, a deposition is a question and answer session. One party will ask you questions, and you give answers. But unlike other questions, it’s not an aptitude test. You’re only obligated to testify as to what you heard, smelled, felt, recalled or saw at the crash site. You’re not obligated to guess; you are not obligated to speculate. So, now, here you are; you know what a deposition is.

What kind of questions can they ask you at a deposition? Well, the answer is it is a very vast and wide scope of questions they can ask you. As long as the questions are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of information that can narrow the scope or prove some of the issues at trial, then you can be asked that question. However, there are some exceptions. Communications between you and your attorney are typically privileged.

And, that’s the most common exception to what can be asked at the deposition. So, if you have a conversation with your attorney about the deposition before you go into the deposition, what is said in the conversation is between you and the attorney, and the attorney questioning you at the deposition cannot ask you about that question.

Often times in lawsuits, the other side can’t learn enough about the other side’s case without sitting down and meeting with the person who actually witnessed the events that are in dispute. This process is usually handled best through a deposition. A deposition is, in essence, a question-and-answer session, and it’s not so much the answers that come from the question and answer session, but more of the opportunity to evaluate how well the witness presents. Does he or she continue to make eye contact? Do they answer questions directly? Are they evasive in their answers? Do they fidget? Do they take long pauses before giving an answer?

All of these and many others are some of the others are gained from taking a deposition from a witness. More importantly, it is also designed to narrow the issues that are in dispute. If the deposition reveals, for example, that nobody disputes the light was red for the car that hit the other car, now we’ve narrowed the issues to liability not being a factor, but it being a question of, “How much damage is there?” So, there are many different reasons why a deposition is taken.

There are other exceptions that I would be happy to explain to you. If you have questions about depositions, pick up the phone and call the Nunes Law at (559) 702-5124.

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