What is a Deposition in Minnesota?

If you or someone you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover the compensation you need. This can be a complicated process, and an injury victim should secure a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to help them with their case. Depositions are a valuable part of the personal injury lawsuit process and it is important to understand their purpose.

What is a Deposition?

Even though most personal injury claims are settled out of court, that does not mean that both the injured party (plaintiff) and the at-fault party (defendant) will not go through the motions of getting ready for a full trial. One portion preparing for a personal injury case is taking depositions of witnesses.

A deposition gives attorneys from both sides of the case an opportunity to pose questions to any possible witnesses who have pertinent information to the personal injury case. Attorneys will pose various questions about the details, facts, circumstances of the incident in question.

Anyone asked to submit to a deposition will receive a notice, usually via certified mail or their attorney. This is not something that is optional – it is an order from the court. Depositions are given under oath, which means that those being question must give truthful answers to the best of their ability. Everything said in a deposition will be recorded it can be used in the court case.

Why are Depositions Important?

Depositions are important because they give any witness the opportunity to give testimony on the record about their version of events concerning the incident. Depositions create written records that could be used in a trial to refute or support any testimony given in front of a judge or jury. Depositions allow for anybody involved in the incident to be questioned by attorneys, including any third-party witnesses.

Depositions give a person the ability to share the facts and circumstances of the case in their own words. Attorneys from both sides will have a chance to evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of their case as they make the choice about whether or not to advance to a trial or work on a settlement.

How Should You Act in a Deposition?

Typically, depositions take place in an attorney’s office and not in the courtroom. Depositions can be stressful, but there are some basic tips for deposition conduct that you will review with your attorney:

  • Be polite, be professional. It is important to arrive at your deposition on time and that you are well-dressed and well-groomed. Be polite to the other parties present, but avoid small talk.
  • Stick to the facts. When an attorney asks you questions, your answer should be clear and concise. Answer only the questions asked and stick to the facts as you know them. You can ask for clarification on anything you do not understand.
  • Take your time. Do not rush your answers to the questions posed. Take your time and give well thought out and truthful answers. Let the other attorney finish their question before you answer, and give your attorney time to object if necessary.
  • Do not lie. You are under oath during a deposition. Failing to be truthful could result in legal consequences for you, and it will hurt your case. Stick to the facts, answer honestly, and do not be afraid to say, “I do not recall,” if there is a question you do not know the answer to.

Depositions are valuable tools that can be used in your personal injury case, but it is important that you fully prepare for the deposition with your attorney beforehand.