Depositions in Illinois: What are they? And what do you need to know?
By Aaron T. Novasic
Depositions in Illinois are a common practice when a case is being litigated. A deposition is an on-the-record interview of a potential witness before trial. The purpose of a deposition typically is used for information gathering. It also can be used to preserve the testimony of a witness and, in turn, to impeach a witness during trial.
There are three levels of witnesses who may be subject to being deposed: party, treating and expert. For purposes of this blog, I want to talk about party witnesses. This means you were involved directly in the event, whether it be a car accident, slip and fall, etc.
So, your attorney has told you that you are being deposed. What can you expect? Prior to depositions, you should have met with your attorney and answered interrogatories, which are written questions that must have written responses as well as requests for documents possessed by the other side. A deposition is used to dive into your answers deeper and to get a better understanding of what happened.
Depositions can be in person at either of the attorneys’ offices or via Zoom, the new normal post-COVID-19. Whether it is held in person or online, you will notice your attorney there, the attorney for the other side who will be asking you questions, and a court reporter who will take down everything that is said. The most important part is that every answer you give will be on the record and must be truthful.
The opposing attorney will go through basic background questions, like your address, marital status, children, etc. Then, hopefully, that attorney will get into the substantive questions focused around the accident. The following questions should then go into the medical treatment you went through. Obviously, all attorneys have their own style of deposition taking, but a good attorney should be thorough and try to make the deposition flow.
Once the opposing attorney is done with their line of questions it is time for your attorney to ask questions, and these are typically follow-up questions that your attorney may want you to expand on based off the responses you gave in the deposition.
Now, this may sound daunting to some, but as I always tell my clients, there is no pressure if you are telling the truth. Whether I am presenting my client for a deposition or if I am taking the deposition, I like to treat the process as an interview with communication back and forth and not an interrogation of the person.
Depositions are very important to the case and can lead to new information for all parties. But at the same time, they do not need to give you a panic attack. Your attorney will always be with you during your deposition and should, hopefully, object to any questions that are inappropriate. A good attorney will know if and when to object and to make your deposition quick and stress less.
If you have questions about a potential deposition case in Illinois, contact the attorneys at Gardi Haught Fischer & Bhosale Ltd. for guidance. Request a Free Case Evaluation below.