A deposition is a way for attorneys to question witnesses in a civil lawsuit in a setting outside of the courtroom. The type of questions that are asked are dependent upon the type of case that is pending.
When involved in a deposition, the attorneys prepare a list of questions to ask the witness. The witness is sworn to tell the truth and a stenographer is on hand to record the deposition. The responses are treated in the same manner as if they were given in a courtroom before a presiding judge.
Some common questions that an attorney may ask a potential witness are things like the witnesses name, address, age and occupation. The attorney may also ask where they were born and how much education they received. Once the basic personal information is confirmed, attorneys start to get into the root of the case by asking specific questions about what the witness saw, how they may know other parties involved in the civil case, and what the witness may have said to other witnesses.
In cases where an attorney is deposing the actual party of a lawsuit, that individual may be asked to bring documentation to the deposition that may or may not prove their position in the lawsuit. The overall goal of a deposition is to determine how much a potential witness knows about a case and what evidence they may have that would be beneficial if the case makes it to trial.