rights during a deposition

Your Rights During a Deposition (Read Before Being Deposed)

Understanding the Deponents Rights During a Deposition

Learning that you must take part in an upcoming deposition can be both stressful and intimidating. With so many unknowns, it can be hard to fully understand the situation. Although a good attorney will explain the deposition process to you, it is still important to educate yourself on your rights during the deposition.

What are your rights during a deposition? As the deponent, there are several rights that you have during a deposition. A few of these include the right to an attorney, the right to private counsel during the deposition, and the right to object to certain questions or clarify your answers.

In this post, we will share more about the rights listed above as well as others that apply to you as the deponent. By educating yourself about your deposition rights, you will eliminate some of the stress surrounding the event and be able to more easily navigate the situation.

Proper preparation leading up to your deposition will not only make the process less intimidating but it will also allow you to give a more successful deposition. A large part of your success during a deposition is understanding your rights and ensuring that they are not compromised.

What is a Deposition?

What are my rights during a deposition?Before we dive into the subject of your rights during the deposition, we wanted to explain the basics surrounding what a deposition is. A deposition is a meeting that takes place during the investigative portion of a legal case. During the deposition, the opposing counsel will ask you, the deponent, a series of questions.

They will then use the information you provide as they establish their case leading up to the courtroom trial. Your role as the deponent is to provide them with honest answers to their questions. Although a deposition does not take place in front of a judge, you will be under an oath throughout the process. For this reason, it is imperative that you answer each question truthfully and completely.

The Rights of a Deponent During a Deposition

As the deponent, you may be tempted to feel attacked throughout the deposition. It is important to know your rights during the deposition. This will enable you to protect yourself in the event that the opposing party is violating your rights.

The following is an overview of your rights as the deponent in a deposition. Your attorney can provide you with a more in-depth explanation of these rights as they pertain to your unique case. Additionally, it is important to note that there may be rules that are specific to your state or location. For this reason, it is important to use the following simply as guidelines as you prepare for your upcoming deposition.

You Can Be Accompanied by An Attorney

As the deponent, you have the right to be accompanied by your legal counsel. This could be your attorney or a partner of their firm. It is always in your best interest to be accompanied by your attorney during your deposition. They will serve an important role in protecting your rights, answering your questions, and helping you navigate the process from start to finish.

Additionally, attending your deposition will provide your attorney with insight into the case the opposing counsel is attempting to build against you. This can prove invaluable in court.

A Deponent Can Have Private Counsel Throughout the Deposition

Throughout the course of your deposition, you have the right to private counsel with your attorney. In the event that you do not understand a question, or simply need advice on how to proceed, your attorney will be able to provide you with valuable guidance.

Deponents Have the Right to Clarify Their Answers

deponent in a depositionWhile you may be trying your hardest to answer each question that is asked of you truthfully, we all make mistakes. You have the right to clarify your answers during your deposition if you realize you misspoke or remember additional information. To clarify any information you shared, clearly state that you would like to do so, and then provide the additional information.

You also have the right to clarify the answers given during your deposition once the deposition is complete. Your attorney will provide you with guidance on how to proceed with this process.

Reimbursement for Mileage and Travel Fees to Deposition

If you receive a subpoena to a deposition, you have the right to receive reimbursement for mileage and travel fees. This reimbursement will be at the same rate that is provided to witnesses who must appear in the courtroom.

Right to Object to Certain Questions 

During your deposition, you have the right to object to certain questions that the opposing counsel may pose. These questions include anything pertaining to the following:

 

  • Private information such as a person’s health, race, religion, or sexuality.
  • Privileged information such as anything discussed with lawyer, priest, psychiatrist, doctor, or other professional that has a confidentiality agreement.
  • Irrelevant information that does not pertain directly to the case.

 

It is important to note, however, that although you may object to a question, you may still be required to answer it. The opposing counsel can clearly state why the answer to their question pertains to the case. If they are able to do so, you must provide them with the information they have requested.

In most cases, it is best to leave objections up to your attorney. The job of your attorney is to work with your best interest in mind. Because of this, they will often object to questions before you even realize they are not appropriate.

Deponents Have the Right to Retain Copies of Any Documents 

Many times you will be required to provide documents during your deposition. As the deponent, you have the right to retain a copy of any document that is provided to the opposing counsel or used in the process of the deposition.

If you are required to provide documents during your deposition, you are not to bring them to the meeting. Your attorney will be responsible for handling any documentation or evidence that may be required as you give your testimony.

You Can Request a Copy of Your Deposition

Once your deposition is complete, you have the right to obtain a copy of your deposition in whatever form it was recorded. 

Preparing for a Successful Deposition

It will always be to your benefit to give a successful deposition. There are several things you can do to prepare yourself as the date of the deposition approaches. First, it is important to carefully review the details of the case. You will need to provide clear answers to the questions that are posed by the opposing counsel. To do so accurately, it is important to ensure that you remember each detail as it happened.

In order to prepare for a successful deposition, it is also important to consult with your attorney. They will be able to provide you with an idea of the types of questions that you may encounter during your deposition according to the specifics of your case.

Many individuals find that learning more about the deposition process helps to alleviate some of the stress they feel in the days leading up to their deposition. By finding out if your deposition will be recorded on video or not, you will enter your deposition more aware of what to expect. 

At the end of the day, it is important to realize that although a deposition can be a stressful event, your attorney is ready to guide you through each step of the process. A great attorney will ensure that you are properly prepared for what’s next and that your rights are protected throughout the deposition.

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Matt McWilliams
matt@mcwilliamsmedia.com