What is a Deposition?

A Deposition is part of the Discovery Process that occurs in a civil lawsuit. After the lawsuit is filed and answered, the parties engage in a period of Discovery to learn about each other’s case to evaluate the case for settlement negotiations or prepare the case for a Trial.

A Deposition is an oral interview under oath that is transcribed by a Court Reporter and then typed up into a transcript that is used throughout the lawsuit.

Who can be deposed?

The parties to the lawsuit can and are almost always deposed.  In addition, witnesses who know information relevant to the lawsuit can be subpoenaed for a deposition.  In a car accident case, people to be deposed usually include the injured person, drivers of the vehicles, witnesses to the accident, and investigating police officers.

Where do Depositions take place?

Depositions are usually held in one of the lawyers’ offices or a rented conference room.  Sometimes court rules provide that if the parties cannot agree on a location, Depositions must take place in the local Courthouse.

Who is present at the Deposition?

The parties to the lawsuit are permitted to attend as are their lawyers.  If the witness is not a party, then he/she is also allowed to have a lawyer present.  The Court Reporter transcribes the testimony and sometimes there is a videographer present who videotapes the proceedings.

What questions are asked at a Deposition?

In Pennsylvania, the scope of Discovery is very broad so parties and witnesses can be asked about anything that would be relevant and admissible as evidence at the Trial as well as anything that is “reasonably calculated to lead the the discovery of admissible evidence.”  The attorney asking questions cannot inquire about communications between the party or witness and his/her attorney because of the Attorney/Client Privilege.  However, other than than Privileged communications, the range of permissible questions is extremely broad.

In a Personal Injury case, topics for the injury victim’s Deposition usually include the following:  Background, Education and Employment History, Health History, Injury and Accident History, the Accident, Injuries and Medical Treatment, Medical Bills, Lost Wages, Disability, Pain and Suffering and other negative Impacts of the Injury.

Tim Rayne is a Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer with the Chester County based law firm MacElree Harvey.  For over 25 years, Tim has been helping injured victims of accidents receive fair treatment and compensation from insurance companies.  Tim has law offices in Kennett Square and West Chester Pennsylvania.  For more information on your legal rights to compensation after an accident, contact Tim Rayne at 6108400124 or trayne@macelree.com.  

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