The purpose of a deposition is to find out what your personal knowledge of the facts in the case are, and when you knew them. It also pins you down to a specific story, so if you testify later at trial you cannot change your story. It also allows opposing counsel to size you up as a witness to see if you would be credible if you did testify later at trial.
The deposition is typically taken in an attorney’s conference room in the presence of a court reporter along with your attorney and the opposing party and their attorney. The Court reporter will give you an oath to tell the truth and ask you to identify yourself. Be sure to speak loudly and clearly so the transcript of your testimony is accurate and understandable. Do not nod your head or make gestures since they will not be recorded.
To prepare for the deposition you should refresh your recollection by reviewing any notes you made about the case. You should also read all the pleadings and correspondence from your attorney’s file. If the other party or witnesses have already given depositions you should also review those to see how they differ from your recollection of the facts. Do not be afraid if you do not remember something, just tell the truth and state that you do not remember.
The most important thing to remember is to tell the truth. Do not lie or exaggerate. Listen carefully to each question and answer only to what is being asked. Do not give additional information. If you can answer a question with a yes or no you should do so. Try to make your answers as a short as possible.
Never answer a question if you do not know the answer. Never estimate or guess, as this will destroy your credibility if you are not accurate. If you realize you gave a wrong or unclear answer, correct or clarify it immediately.
If you do not understand a question ask the attorney to repeat it. You should only be asked one question at a time, so if you hear a compound question, wait for your attorney to object and it will be rephrased. If you hear your lawyer object to a question stop talking immediately. Your lawyer will instruct you on how to proceed.
Do not bring any documents or records to the deposition unless your attorney tells you to. In addition, do not ask for anything from your file during the deposition.
After the deposition do not speak with the opposing party since nothing is off the record.
Contact a Ridley Park, PA Attorney
If you are facing a deposition or have questions feel free to call Spadea & Associates, LLC at 610-521-0604.