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What’s the Purpose of a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?

A deposition is an out-of-court interview that’s taken under oath in front of a court reporter. The deponent (the person being questioned) answers the questions asked by the attorneys in the case. The court reporter records the questions and answers and provides the parties with a written transcript.

While it’s natural to be nervous for a deposition­—especially if it’s your first one—your Buchanan Firm staff will help you prepare and be ready for the questions that will be asked.

What’s the Main Purpose of a Deposition?

The primary purpose of a deposition is to gather important facts and details about the case and find out the type of testimony that may be offered by a party in the case at trial.

Practically speaking, a deposition can be used to “lock” a witness’s testimony to identify any later changes to their story.

What Happens in a Deposition?

During a deposition, the opposing side’s attorney will ask questions of the deponent. The attorney representing the witness is permitted to make limited objections during the examination.

It’s common for an attorney to object to a question asked by the opposing attorney. However, if a deponent’s attorney objects to a question, the odds are that the deponent will still be required to answer the question. There are situations, however when the deponent’s attorney will direct the deponent not to answer a question.

What Are they Types of Questions I Should Expect in a Deposition?

Here are some of the standard questions that a deponent may be asked in a personal injury case in a deposition for a car accident. In addition to preliminary questions about the deponent’s personal information (name, address, education, employment, etc.), you can expect deposition questions such as the following:

  • Please tell me what happened before your accident.
  • When did the accident occur?
  • Where did the accident occur?
  • How fast were you driving?
  • Were there any conditions present that impaired your driving?
  • Can you describe what happened after the accident?
  • Did you have any pre-existing medical conditions before this accident?
  • Have you ever been a motor vehicle accident prior to the current case?
  • What injuries did you suffer in this accident?
  • What type of treatment have you received?
  • Have you ever treated for any of those injuries before this accident?
  • Can you tell me the ways in which the accident has impacted your life?

While the main purpose of a deposition is to learn more about the case, the opposing counsel will likely use the deposition to try to get a deponent to make statements that negatively affect his or her case. As a result, it’s important for a deponent to understand that if he or she doesn’t know the answer to a question asked during deposition, don’t guess or make up and answer. It’s best to say, “I don’t know.”

You’re under oath during a deposition, so lying would be a huge mistake. After each question is asked, pause and gather your thoughts to avoid saying something the opposing counsel might use against you.


If you or a loved one has suffered been injured in a car accident or by medical malpractice, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Buchanan Firm in Michigan for a free consultation. We can discuss your situation if you believe you’ve been injured as the result of medical malpractice or vehicle accident and work through the types and amounts of damages you should recover.

Our firm serves Michiganders all over the state, including in major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today!