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What is a Deposition?

As a follow-up to a previous blog about what is a lawsuit, another question I get asked quite a bit is the following – What is a deposition? Probably because I’ve been an attorney involved in so many them I just assume everybody knows what a deposition is. However, my feelings are a bit presumptuous and so below is a quick description of is a deposition.

I’ve asked clients prior to filing a lawsuit on their behalf if they know what a deposition is. Many answer in the following way – it’s when a person who files a lawsuit goes to court and gets asked by the judge a bunch of questions about why they were injured.

To set the record straight, a deposition simply is the testimony of a party or a witness, taken under oath, in a civil or criminal proceeding taken before a trial. Depositions usually take place in an attorney’s office. In addition, they are conducted without the presence of a judge. They always involve a court reporter who takes down the testimony of the deponent (testifier) using a small stenotype machine.

What does a deposition entail?

During a deposition, a lawyer will ask a witness a wide range of questions. Usually, at first the witness will be asked background information, including the person’s address, educational background and employment history. The lawyer will then ask questions about the case. Obviously, the questions that will be asked differ from case to case. Depositions lengths vary, with some taking as little as twenty minutes and others taking many hours.

Michigan accident lawyers have taken literally thousands of depositions, ranging from fact witnesses to physicians and medical experts. We also help our clients prepare for their depositions prior the examination. This preparation is essential so our clients feel comfortable and at ease during questioning.