In personal injury law, most states allow for sworn witness examinations. These proceedings are called depositions. Depositions, while usually conducted in a law office, have the same force and affect as the taking of sworn testimony in court before a judge and jury.
A court reporter is present, stenographically recording the questions, answers and objections, and the witness is formally sworn and must off his or her testify under penalty of perjury. Depositions can last an hour or in more complex cases, the process can last for days and even weeks to complete. It is common practice, if you are going to be the deponent (the party answering the lawyers questions) for your lawyer to prepare you for deposition. This usually includes making sure you do not give speculative answers, guess or volunteer information that has not been specifically asked of you by the deposing lawyer.
Depositions can be used at trial to impeach a trial witness for contradictory former testimony. Deposition testimony has the same force and effect as sworn testimony taken at the time of trial before a judge and jury and therefore is considered vital evidence during the trial process.
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