Involvement in a lawsuit will expose you to many aspects of the legal system that you may not understand. One such thing is depositions.
Depositions are when you give a sworn statement outside of the courtroom. It is not the same as testimony during a trial or hearing. However, it does serve some important purposes.
FindLaw explains that at its core, a deposition is a way to collect statements from people involved in a case. When you give a deposition, you are under oath. If you make statements that are not true or that do not match what you say once you go to court, you could face perjury charges.
Depositions also let attorneys know exactly what a witness will say. If the witness is not beneficial to that side’s case, then it lets the attorney know to expect this. That attorney may not call the witness, but he or she will also have a chance to develop a counter to what the witness will say.
Depositions give both sides the chance to develop their cases through discovery, which is the sharing of information between opposing parties, including the sharing of depositions. Getting a deposition allows an attorney to know exactly what to expect in court. It helps eliminate surprises and uncover weaknesses in the case.
Some Notes About Depositions
You should be aware that depositions are usually not useable in court. They are hearsay because they do not come directly from the person. In addition, during a deposition, attorneys have a wider ability to ask questions and demand answers from witnesses than they do in court.
Some exceptions when a court may allow the use of a deposition include when the witness –
- Provides contradictory statements in court
- Is not available for trial
- Says something that incriminates him or herself
Most often, attorneys will use video deposition Boston MA so that there is a credible record of the statements.
The Bottom Line
Depositions are a useful tool in the legal system. You may have to give one if you are a witness in a legal case or if you file a lawsuit. The most important takeaway about dispositions is that they provide legally binding testimony that is quite helpful in a case.