A deposition is a recorded statement where a participant in a lawsuit answers various questions under oath. The Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure set forth when a deposition can be used and for what purpose in a Michigan lawsuit. It is common practice for injured workers, accident victims and product liability victims, to have their depositions taken during the pending lawsuit. While the thought of being questioned by attorneys can be frightening for most people, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help alleviate the stress of the deposition.
What Will Happen at your Michigan Deposition?
The deposition will probably take place in a conference room at a law firm where your attorney and the attorney asking questions will both be present. A court reporter, whose job it is to make a written transcript of the deposition for use as evidence in the case, will also be present.
Before the deposition begins, the court reporter will confirm that you understand your obligations to be truthful. Because you will be testifying under oath during your deposition, it is critical that you answer each question truthfully. During your deposition, you will be asked a series of questions. An experienced Michigan attorney can review your case and discuss the types of questions that you will likely be asked to answer. Many depositions include the following topics:
- Background Information: Your name, date of birth, address, educational background, and work history. The lawyer may also ask if you have a criminal record or if you have filed any past claims. If the question asked is inappropriate or not allowed under Michigan law, your attorney will make a formal objection on the record.
- Prior injuries: The lawyer may ask questions about any other prior injuries or accidents you may have had in the past to try to prove that your injuries are not related to the current personal injury or workers’ compensation claim.
- How the accident happened: While questions about how the car accident happened can be limited, you may be asked detailed questions about your injuries if they happened over a period of time. If it is a workers’ compensation case, such injuries may include repetitive stress injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome. If it is an automobile accident case, the lawyer will likely ask questions regarding the scene of the accident and your possible fault for the collision.
- Life changes: It is likely that you will also be asked how the accident and the injuries you suffered have changed your daily life. For example, this could include everyday activities such as difficulty cleaning up at home, doing laundry, gardening, shopping, driving a car, and riding in a car, standing too long or sitting too long.
Tips for Handling Your Michigan Deposition
As you prepare for your Michigan deposition, there are a few guidelines to follow:
- Listen carefully before answering: Let the lawyer ask a complete question before you begin to answer.
- Give verbal responses: Always answer “yes” or “no”. The court reporter is unable to record a nod of the head or gesture.
- Don’t volunteer information: Even though you may feel the need to offer information that you think is important, it is important to only answer the question that is being asked.
- Avoid guessing: If a question is confusing, instead of guessing, ask the lawyer to repeat the question or rephrase it.
- Don’t share privileged information: Do not answer questions about any confidential discussions you have had with your attorney.
- Maintain your composure: It’s important to be polite, calm, and clear when answering questions, which is important during the process. In the event that you feel yourself becoming agitated during the deposition, it’s ok to ask to take a break so that you can collect your thoughts.
Once the deposition is over, you will receive a transcript and have an opportunity to make corrections. Having an experienced Michigan attorney advocating for you will ensure that the deposition runs smoothly. For example, during depositions, your attorney will be able to make objections to certain questions and make sure nothing happens that may be against your interests.
Contact a Michigan Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident or suffered a work-related injury, it is important to speak to a skilled Michigan attorney. Please do not hesitate to call Michigan Injury Lawyers at 313-GET-HELP for a free consultation today.