The attorney for the defendant has requested your deposition as part of the discovery
which you must provide in your lawsuit. A deposition is the defense attorneys'
opportunity to ask you questions about your background, your accident, and your
injuries, and to explore your claim in detail. The defense attorneys have your answers to
interrogatories, which provide a basic description of your claim but now want to obtain
further information from you and evaluate you in person.
A deposition takes the form of a question and answer session. The attorneys for the
opposing parties will ask you a series of questions and you will answer them. Everything
that is said by anyone during the course of the deposition is transcribed by a court
reporter, who is present at the proceeding. You will be sworn by the court reporter before
being questioned and your answers are given under oath. Your testimony is preserved "on
The deposition is a critical part of your lawsuit. The transcript can be shown to judges,
who must determine whether your case may proceed to trial; to insurance adjusters, who
must decide whether to offer you a settlement; and, if your case is tried, to the jury if the
opposing attorneys want to create the impression that you are changing your story.
Because most cases settle out of court, the deposition may be your only chance to testify
in detail about your accident, aside from perhaps twenty minutes during an arbitration
hearing. You should never forget, however, that a deposition is an adversarial proceeding
and that the opposing attorney is probing for weaknesses in your case. The strength of
your lawsuit will be displayed by your own attorneys when we ask you questions at an
arbitration or trial, or obtain a pre-trial affidavit from you to show to a judge.
Because it is unlikely that you are a professional witness, you are probably apprehensive
about being deposed. To make you a better witness, please keep a few basic rules in