What Are Depositions?

My lawyer says I have to give a deposition.  What is that?

Depositions are sworn statements taken from a party or witness in a lawsuit and they are often part of the discovery process. The person giving the statement is called the deponent. At the beginning of the deposition the deponent is asked to swear or affirm that the statement will be truthful. The deposition is taken by a lawyer asking questions of the deponent. 

“Proof” depositions are taken and presented at trial as evidence in lieu of having the witness testify in person. A “proof” deposition may be taken for the convenience of the witness who cannot otherwise appear in person at trial or as a cost saving mechanism to avoid the expense of bringing the witness to testify live at trial.  In Tennessee certain people, such as doctors, are not required to come to trial to testify about their care and treatment of a patient who has brought a lawsuit and thus they testify at trial via a proof deposition.