In Montana, once a personal injury lawsuit is commenced both sides are required to exchange information in a process known as “discovery.” The goal of discovery is to promote fairness and prevent surprises in litigation by allowing each side to inquire about the other’s case before trial.
In a personal injury case arising out of a car accident, one of the most important discovery procedures is the “deposition.” In a deposition, the lawyer for the other driver – usually hired by the driver’s insurance company – asks a series of questions of the injured party. A court reporter types up the questions and answers verbatim, and the resulting transcript becomes part of the court record.
In a typical personal injury case the opposing lawyer will begin by asking the injured party some basic background questions, and then move on to ask questions about the accident itself. These questions might include questions about what the victim observed immediately before and during the accident, the speed of the vehicles, what color the traffic lights were at the intersection, where the vehicles came to rest after the collision and so on.
The questioner will then usually ask a series of questions about the nature and extent of the victim’s injuries. These questions will address topics like the location and severity of symptoms, what medical treatment the victim has sought and what restrictions doctors have placed on activities.
At our law firm, we take our clients’ depositions very seriously. We attempt to make sure that every client is prepared by going over potential questions with them before the deposition. We attend the deposition with our client, and we are prepared to object if the opposing lawyer asks any inappropriate questions.