What is a deposition?

A deposition is merely the asking of questions of a party or a witness by an attorney, under oath. The questions and responses are transcribed by a certified court reporter. During a deposition, an attorney is able to question the opposing party and any other witnesses he or she feels they need to question to more fully determine their knowledge of any facts which are relevant to the lawsuit and claims alleged therein.


The first deposition is usually that of the parties, meaning you, the client, and the other party, the defendant. The purpose of that deposition is primarily to give each an attorney a detailed version of the claims and defenses of each party, under oath. This has the effect of “locking in” each party to their testimony so that they won’t be able to change it at trial. After the deposition, it is also oftentimes an opportunity for the insurance company lawyer to communicate his impressions of you and your case to the defendant’s insurance adjuster, so that an updated evaluation may be made.


In other instances depositions are used to elicit testimony and opinions from “expert witnesses” regarding claimed personal injuries, such as your doctors, and oftentimes, economic experts or other expert witnesses such as engineers, architects, or safety experts.