METRO DETROIT PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
If a lawsuit is filed in your personal injury case, there will likely come a time during the discovery process when the opposing counsel seeks to take your deposition. For our Michigan personal injury clients, the plaintiff’s deposition is often the most difficult part of the case. This is understandable, as the client is compelled to discuss details of what may be the most painful and emotional period of their life with a complete stranger.
While being the subject of a deposition will likely never be an enjoyable experience, knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help alleviate anxiety, and result in a proceeding that will improve the value of the case.
WHAT IS A DEPOSITION?
A deposition is a meeting during the discovery process of a personal injury case, whereby the opposing counsel is allowed to “interview” a party or witness in order to uncover case relevant facts. Unless instructed otherwise by their attorney, the individual deposed is required to answer each question. Furthermore, each question must be answered truthfully as the witness is under oath.
Where Does The Deposition Take Place And Who Attends?
Normally, the deposition is conducted at the office of one of the attorneys. In most cases, the plaintiff’s deposition is taken at the office of his or her attorney. Present in the room will usually be the attorney(s) for the opposing side, your attorney and a court reporter who creates a transcript of the proceeding. Unlike testifying in court, the judge will not be present at the deposition. Your attorney is allowed to object to questions that are irrelevant or exceed the scope of the examination.
Am I Required To Attend The Deposition?
Once you file a lawsuit in a personal injury case, the opposing counsel has the right to uncover all the relevant facts of the case, in order to limit the number of surprises at trial. Under Michigan law, the parties are allowed discovery on “any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action.” MCR 2.302(B)(1). Aside from eliciting the facts of the case and the nature of the plaintiff’s injuries, depositions allow each side to assess how the witness will present at trial, in the event the case does not settle beforehand.
What Questions Will They Ask Me During My Deposition?
The defense attorney in a Michigan personal injury case will likely ask questions about the witness and case that include:
- General background questions including the plaintiff’s name, date of birth, family members, education, work history, etc.
- Information about the plaintiff’s physical condition prior to the accident. For example, if the plaintiff in a car accident case claims an injury to their lower back, the defense counsel will want to know if the plaintiff had any prior injuries or other relevant medical history concerning their back.
- Questions about the accident including – How did the accident happen? Where did the accident happen? Did anyone witness the accident? Did you speak with anyone after the accident? Did you go to the hospital after the accident? The defense attorney will also ask you about the medical treatment you received after the accident, the names of the doctors and hospitals that treated you and their treatment plan, as well as the current status of your injuries.
- Questions about how the injury has affected or impacted your life including the plaintiff’s work history after the accident, as well as household services and other activities he or she is unable to perform since the accident.
The Plaintiff’s Opportunity To Maximize Their Case
While the plaintiff’s deposition is most often met with fear and trepidation, we tell our clients that this is also an opportunity they should relish. While the process can be long, tiring and emotional, the deposition is also the plaintiff’s opportunity to tell the other side how the accident has affected their life. It is much easier for an insurance company or defense attorney to minimize a plaintiff’s claim on paper. It is much harder to do so when you are sitting across the table listening to them explain precisely how the accident has transformed their life. It is an opportunity for the plaintiff to add real value to their case and encourage the other side to engage in meaningful settlement negotiations.
Contact Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers
At Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers, we thoroughly prepare our clients for their personal injury deposition in order to maximize both the value of the case and the client’s comfort level. At Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers, you are not a number on a filing cabinet, but rather a person who needs help.