What Is A Deposition?

I was in a car accident in Springfield, Tennessee.  I was hurt but I am not sure that I want to get involved in a lawsuit because I don’t want to give a deposition.  I really don’t understand what a deposition is but my friend said she had to give a deposition and that it was bad.  What is a deposition anyway? 

A deposition is testimony given by a the person bring a lawsuit (the plaintiff) or the person who was sued (the defendant) or witness in a lawsuit before the case actually goes to trial. The person giving the statement is called the deponent. 

A deposition is usually taken in the office of one of the lawyers involved in the case, although I have taken depositions in conference rooms, motel rooms and, one time, a bar.  

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.   Usually, the lawyer for the plaintiff will take the deposition of the defendant and the lawyer for the defendant will take the deposition of the plaintiff.   Either lawyer may take the deposition of other people who have knowledge about facts important in the case.

Most people are nervous about giving a deposition, but usually the lawyers involved are very courteous.  Any lawyer you hire to help you with your case should  prepare you for the deposition.  He or she will not tell you what to say about the event or your injuries, but he or she will give you basic rules for conducting yourself at the deposition and practice with you to give you a feel for the deposition process.

You should not let your fear of a deposition stop you from bringing a valid claim arising from a car accident or any other situation.


John Day represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims.  He is board-certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and, in fact, served as President of the organization. He is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  His book, "Day on Torts:   Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law," is used by judges and lawyers across Tennessee to further their understanding of personal injury and wrongful death law in Tennessee.  In 2009, Best Lawyers named John "Best Personal Injury Lawyer" for Nashville; he was the first recipient of that award. Best Lawyers also  named John as "Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Nashville" for 2010.   John does not charge for an initial consultation and accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent  fee basis.  You can reach him by telephone at 615.742.4880 or by email by clicking here

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