I’ve Been Subpoenaed for a Deposition. What Is It?
In short, a deposition is a question and answer session given under oath. It is the opportunity for attorneys to speak on the record with witnesses involved in a case about what he or she knows – including you.
Do I have to Appear for My Deposition?
Yes, your attendance at a deposition is mandatory when involved in litigation. Failure to comply with a deposition subpoena could result in the judge presiding over the case holding you in contempt of court and imposing sanctions. Sanctions may include fines, jail time, or even dismissing the case.
Where Will the Deposition Be Held?
Typically, depositions are conducted at an office of one of the attorneys handling a case. In your case, you can expect that your deposition will be held at your attorney’s office.
Who Will Be Present during My Deposition?
Generally, the following people will be present during your deposition:
- Your attorney or attorneys who will be sitting right next to you during the entirety of the deposition to ensure it is conducted appropriately and that the record is protected from prejudicial testimony should the case eventually proceed to a trial.
- Attorney or attorneys for the defendants in the case. The defense attorney is the person who takes your deposition (i.e., asks you questions about the case).
- Court Reporter (or stenographer) who will be recording and transcribing what is said throughout the course of a deposition.
What is My Job During a Deposition?
Very simple. When being deposed in a case, you just need to remember two basic rules:
- TELL THE TRUTH! Remember, you are giving testimony in a deposition. If you knowingly and intentionally provide false information during your deposition, you could be charged with perjury – a felony in Michigan.
- TELL ONLY WHAT YOU KNOW! You are not being deposed to guess or make assumptions about a case; it doesn’t help anyone. You are simply there to provide testimony based on your personal knowledge and observations – that’s it.
What Will I Be Asked About?
In Michigan, the rules of Discovery are very liberal. With respect to depositions, that essentially means the attorneys can ask almost anything of a witness even if the topic appears irrelevant at face value. Whether certain testimony is legally relevant and comes into evidence, however, is for the attorneys to argue before a judge should a case proceed to a trial.
While every attorney may approach a deposition differently, there are essentially three areas to be covered in your deposition which you will be asked about in detail during its completion:
- Your life before the accident. This will include questions about yourself in general (DOB, marital status, education, employment, etc.) as well as more personal questions before the accident giving rise to the lawsuit, most notably being your medical history.
- The accident itself. It may seem self-explanatory, but after completing questions about you and your life before the accident, you will next be asked about the circumstances surrounding the accident itself. This can be a gauge for attorneys to assess if you are a good factual historian (i.e., have a good memory of the accident and subsequent events) by asking simple questions such as what time did the accident occur, what was the weather like, how busy was traffic, etc.
3. Post-accident. Simply put, this is the most important area of your deposition! This is when you will be asked about your medical treatment as a result of the accident based on your knowledge and understanding (e.g., which hospital did you go to, what doctors have you seen, what kind of treatment have your doctors administered, has any doctor recommended a surgical procedure).
Lastly, and even more crucial, you will be asked about how the accident affected or continues to affect your normal manner of life as before the accident occurred. This can range from a wide array of topics, from your ability to do your job to personal hobbies and recreational activities.
At Macomb Injury Lawyers, we understand that most people have never given testimony in a deposition before and that even the idea of being questioned under oath can be stressful. That is why our experienced attorneys are here to put your mind at ease and guide you through it every step of the way.
If you have any questions about your deposition or the deposition process in general, call us at Macomb Injury Lawyers today at (586) 333-3000. WE CAN HELP!