The New York Personal Injury Blog

What to Do If You're Deposed in a Civil Lawsuit

Depositions are an important part of a lawsuit. If you've filed a lawsuit or if you're being sued, you will likely eventually be called for a deposition.

What does that mean, and what do you need to know about depositions in New York?

For starters, depositions are governed by the law of civil procedure. In New York, if your case is a simple civil lawsuit for money damages, your lawsuit will be governed by state law and the rules of the court where your lawsuit has been filed.

Here's what you need to know, in a nutshell, about depositions in New York:

What is the purpose of a deposition? A deposition serves the purpose of uncovering information to make the case. There are several phases to a civil lawsuit. The discovery phase of a lawsuit is when the attorneys try to build their case through "discovering" information. A deposition is part of the discovery phase. There are many other ways that the attorneys gather information. Some might be through sending a series of questions to the other side's attorney. Another could be through requesting the other side to produce documents.

How does a deposition work? You will be asked several questions by the attorney who is conducting the deposition. These questions will be asked before an officer who will conduct an oath.

Will it be recorded? Absolutely. A court reporter will be present, and typically audio- and video-recording devices will be there as well.

Should I answer all of the questions? Even if your attorney objects, you should still answer the question. When in doubt, look at your attorney and see how she directs you. The only time you shouldn't answer a question is when your attorney specifically directs you not to answer a question. Also, be sure to answer truthfully. You are under oath.

How should I dress? There's no real dress code for a deposition, so use your best judgment. When in doubt, dress in business professional or business-casual.

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