Everything You Need to Know About Depositions
Chris Finney, Trial Attorney
Video Updated 9/19/2023
What is a Deposition?
Once a lawsuit is filed the plaintiff and defendant have the opportunity to take statements from each party and witnesses. That procedure of taking statements is called a deposition.
Typically a deposition will take place at a lawyer’s office or maybe a doctor’s office depending on the witness. The witness will be sworn by a court reporter or a stenographer, the person who records the deposition and puts it into written form.
A deposition can also be videotaped. It is not required to be videotaped in the state of Missouri however our attorneys almost always videotape depositions.
A deposition is under oath and is just as valuable or just as valid as if somebody was sitting on a witness stand and telling the story. But it just isn’t as dramatic of a feel.
The process can be intimidating to the person giving their deposition. It takes some time to get used to the question and answer format because most conversations you have with someone you can ask questions back. You cannot do that in a deposition. You have to answer the questions that are asked, answer them clearly, and then wait for the next one.
Also, you do not get to dictate how a deposition goes. Giving up control is very difficult for a party, very difficult for a plaintiff and very difficult for a defendant.
At our law firm we like to prepare our clients for the deposition. We want you to feel comfortable with:
- How the process works
- Swearing in
- Speaking clearly
- Speaking slowly
- Answering the question that is asked
- Making sure you understand the questions asked
Anything that when put into written form can make a transcript cloudy when read we want to avoid.
Can I Correct My Statements Made in a Deposition?
The state of Missouri allows you to proof read a deposition and to make changes on what is called an Errata sheet, but only after the transcript is produced by the court reporter to the lawyers.
If you wish, you can meet with your attorney and go over the deposition to say “I didn’t mean that there it should read ‘x.’” Or, “I thought about this and it should read ‘y’.” You will then fill out an Errata sheet, sign it under oath and then that will be attached to the deposition as if it is part of the record, under the rules in the state of Missouri.
Making changes may create some issues. Attorneys may wonder why the witness did not say those things during the deposition and why it was said now. But for our law firm, we want the truth to be out there so we would rather have it attached then not.
St. Louis Personal Injury Litigation Attorney
Having a trusted legal representative to help guide and support you through the litigation process can make all the difference in the final outcome of your personal injury lawsuit. Dial 314-293-4222 to speak with a Finney Injury Law trial attorney today.
Other videos you might enjoy are listed below.