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Non-Party Witness Deposition

A deposition is a question and answer session that takes place under oath, before the trial. It is also called an examination before the trial, where both parties to the case are asked questions by the opposing lawyers. However, there could be a non-party witness deposition as well, in a medical malpractice or accident case. A non-party witness is one who is not part of the lawsuit.

He is not the party bringing the lawsuit and he is not the person being sued either. Instead, the non-party might be a witness to some of the events that occurred and he might have useful information that could either help or hurt one side or the other.

What happens during a Non-Party Witness Deposition?

There are many reasons for questioning a non-party witness at a deposition. For instance, in a medical malpractice case, someone may have witnessed what happened. In addition to acquiring a written statement about what actually occurred, one of the sides might want to take the witness's testimony, and find out truly, what exactly happened? What did the witness see? What was he doing? What was the purpose of him being present at the scene when then incident took place? Did he have an interest in recording this information? Why did he remember all the events that took place during the incident?

Hence, one party or the other has the opportunity to carry out a non-party witness deposition. The lawyers will have the opportunity to question the witness, who swears to tell the truth. The questions asked and the answers given under oath will be recorded by the court stenographer. These records are kept in a booklet known as the transcript. This preserves the witness's testimony, and is used when the case goes to trial, which could be even a year or two after the deposition has taken place.

Importance of Non-Party Witness Deposition

During the trial when this witness comes to testify, and if he says something different than what he had said at the deposition, then the transcript can be used against him to contradict his testimony. On the other hand, if that witness is no longer available or is unable to come to trial, the lawyer can still use that information or the testimony that he gave.

The lawyer can actually read the testimony the witness had given during the pretrial question and answer session, to the jury, as part of the evidence in the case. This can be only done, when the lawyers have had the opportunity to question the witness during deposition and ask follow up questions.

Statements are Recorded & Saved

The non-party witness deposition can be crucial in the outcome of a medical malpractice or an accident case. Once the witness has answered all the questions during a deposition, he will not be able to change his testimony during trial, since it is recorded in the transcript. Even if he tries, the lawyer will point out the discrepancies to the jury, by reading out from the transcript. Similarly, a non-party witness deposition also enables important testimony to be recorded that may not be available during trial.

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