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What is a deposition?

A deposition is an essential part of a personal injury case in Missouri, and it involves providing sworn testimony under oath. This testimony is typically given in response to questions asked by the opposing party’s attorneys, and it is used to gather information that may be relevant to the case. In this blog post, we will discuss what a deposition is in a personal injury case in Missouri and why it is crucial to work with a personal injury attorney in Columbia, MO, to navigate this process effectively.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is a legal proceeding in which a witness is asked questions under oath by an attorney. The witness may be the plaintiff, defendant, or a third-party witness who has relevant information about the case. Depositions are typically conducted outside of courtrooms, usually in a conference room or office. During a deposition, a court reporter will be present to record a transcript of the proceedings.

Why Are Depositions Important in Personal Injury Cases?

Depositions are crucial in personal injury cases as they allow both parties to gather information that may be relevant to the case. The attorneys representing each side will ask questions to try and obtain information that will help them build their case. For example, the defense attorney may ask questions about the plaintiff’s prior medical history to try and argue that their injuries were not caused by the accident. On the other hand, the plaintiff’s attorney may ask questions about the accident itself to establish liability on the part of the defendant.

Depositions are also important as they allow the attorneys to assess the credibility of the witnesses. The way that a witness answers questions can have a significant impact on how the case will be perceived by a jury. If a witness is evasive or appears untruthful, it can undermine their credibility and weaken their testimony.

What Happens During a Deposition?

During a deposition, the witness will be asked questions by the opposing party’s attorney. The witness must answer these questions truthfully, as they are under oath. The attorneys will typically ask a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions, and they may also ask the witness to clarify their responses or provide additional details.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help with Depositions?

Depositions can be intimidating, and it is essential to work with an experienced personal injury attorney  to navigate this process effectively. An experienced attorney can help prepare the witness for the deposition, including providing guidance on what to expect and how to answer questions truthfully. They can also help the witness understand their rights during the deposition and object to any questions that may be irrelevant or unfairly prejudicial.

In addition to helping the witness prepare for the deposition, a personal injury attorney can also use the information gathered during the deposition to build a strong case. They may identify inconsistencies in the opposing party’s testimony or obtain new information that can be used to establish liability or damages.

What Happens After a Deposition?

After the deposition is complete, the court reporter will provide a transcript of the proceedings. The attorneys will review this transcript and use it to prepare for trial. The information obtained during the deposition may be used to build arguments, impeach witnesses, or negotiate a settlement.

In some cases, the deposition may lead to a settlement before trial. If both parties can come to an agreement, they may avoid the time and expense of a trial. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial, and the deposition testimony may be used as evidence.