Skip to main content

What is an Examination for Discovery?

April 28, 2011 / Category: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is an examination for discovery?
    Under the Rules of Civil Procedure, each side in the lawsuit has the right to make discovery of the opposing party. Thus, when you become a plaintiff or defendant in any litigation, the opposing party may require you to appear at a specified time and place and give your oral testimony under oath, which testimony is taken down by shorthand or mechanical means and transcribed for future use in the lawsuit. Your deposition properly given can go a long way in assisting us in handling your litigation either by way of settlement or at the trial. What you do at the deposition can help you or hurt you, depending upon your attitude, truthfulness and appearance.In its simplest form an examination for discovery is the oral testimony of a witness taken under oath. The questions asked of you will address themselves to information that is relevant to the case or to the discovering relevant facts. You will not be expected to “put on a performance”. You do not have to have a perfect memory. You just need to be who you are – that is the essence of your case.
  2. Not a court appearance
    This is not a Court appearance. It is an informal procedure and only you and I, the lawyer, the defendant and a Court Reporter will be in attendance. It should not be a high stress procedure.
  3. Your physical appearance
    You should remember that usually the first opportunity the opposing lawyer has to see you comes at the time of giving the discovery deposition. It’s important you make a good impression. But we do not want you to “dress up”. We do need you to feel comfortable.
  4. The purposes of a deposition at discovery
    The opposing side is taking your deposition for three reasons. The first reason is that they want to find out what facts you have in your actual knowledge and possession regarding the issues in the lawsuit. In other words, they are interested in what your story is now and what it is going to be at the trial. Secondly, they want to pin you down to a specific story so that you will have to tell the same story at the trial and they will know in advance what your story is going to be. And, thirdly, they hope to catch you in a lie because if they were to catch you in a lie they can show at the trial that you are not a truthful person and therefore your testimony should not be believed on any of the points, particularly the crucial ones. These are very legitimate purposes and the opposing side has every right to take your discovery deposition for these purposes and in this fashion. The way to avoid any problem with your evidence is to be, at all times, truthful and honest. It’s very dangerous to engage in a test of wits with a lawyer. On the other hand truth and honesty can never hurt you.We will be there to protect your interests but we need you to be truthful and honest. Speak from your memory and your heart.Examination for Discovery is an essential step in any litigation process and if done correctly can significantly increase your award and early chances of resolution. Call today to find out how our Personal Injury Team of lawyers can utilize an examination for discovery to assist in resolving your case earlier than expected and for more money!