Video depositions allow the triers of fact to hear and see the witness that otherwise cannot be present in court for a trial. However, many lawyers record discovery depositions so they can impeach a witness that may change their trial testimony in court. Impeachment using a video deposition rather than reading a transcript, is a very effective way to show inconsistent testimony.
Usually the attorneys, the court reporter and the videographer travel to a convenient location to gather deposition testimony. Often times the witness is a treating physician, psychologist, or a doctor who did an independent exam on one of the parties in a law suit. Many times, video depositions are held at a doctor’s office before or after regular business hours for the convenience of the professional witness.
A fact witness that has important information to a case may also give a video deposition. In this case it is not uncommon to travel to that witness’s house to do the video deposition. The deposition proceeds as if in a court room and objections are made and preserved for the trial judge to rule on at a later time. After the rulings are made, the video deposition is edited to take out any objectional testimony as directed by the court. That edited video deposition is then used to playback to the jury.
Video depositions are a great tool to show and tell about a procedure that is hard to understand. By having the witness use diagrams, photos or illustrations during the deposition to explain a complex process helps the jury. Having a doctor reference an x-ray or an animation on a laptop to explain a complicated procedure is invaluable.