- Deposition of a Plaintiff in a Maryland Personal Injury Case
- Deposition of a Plaintiff in Maryland Truck Accident Case
- Deposition of a Defendant in a Maryland Personal Injury Case
- Deposition of Defendant Driver in Auto Accident Case #1(PDF, 704KB)
- Deposition of Defendant Driver in Auto Accident Case #2
- Deposition of a Defendant Truck Driver in a Truck Accident Case
- Deposition of a Defendant Truck Driver in a Truck Accident Case #2
- Deposition of a Defendant Truck Driver in a Truck Accident Case #3
- Deposition of Defendant Doctor in Medical Malpractice Case
- Deposition of Defendant Doctor in a Medical Malpractice Case #2
- Deposition of Plaintiff's Medical Doctor Expert in Medical Malpractice Case
- Deposition of Defendant's Medical Doctor in a Auto Accident Case
- Deposition of Defendant in Motorcycle Accident Case
- Deposition of Police Officer in Motorcycle Accident Case
- Deposition of Insurance Adjuster in Uninsured Motorist Case
Rule 2-412 addresses generally the rules under which a Maryland lawyer may note and conduct
a deposition in a Maryland personal injury case. In most serious
personal injury cases where litigation begins, the deposition
is the most important tool Maryland medical malpractice lawyers and accident lawyers rely upon on behalf
of the insurance companies to evaluate the value of the case.
This is particularly so in accident cases our lawyers handle because
very often the reason we were unable to settle the case is because
the Plaintiff is a good person who presents and articulates their
injuries extremely well, a fact that the pre-litigation process
in Maryland cannot account for when evaluating cases. In other
words, the insurance company's computer cannot evaluate the character
and sincerity of the Plaintiff. Good insurance company accident
lawyers and medical malpractice lawyers take this into account in evaluating cases. Accordingly,
the value of many of our motor vehicle cases in the eyes of the
insurance company's attorneys increase dramatically after our
personal injury client's deposition.
A deposition in Maryland can be taken anytime after a personal injury lawsuit is filed and can even be taken before filing suit in some extraordinary circumstances, usually where the preservation of evidence is necessary. Depositions of third parties can also be taken but only for the production of documents. In this case, the custodian of records is required to either produce records to the requesting attorney or appear for deposition.
The deposition process begins
with a deposition notice that sets forth the time and place of
the deposition (this is usually done by consent between the accident
attorneys on both sides). A party to the personal injury case
in Maryland may be noticed for a location in the county where
the lawsuit is pending, whether or not the party is a resident
of that county. See Maryland
Rule 2-413. With individuals or companies who are not parties,
a party may be deposed in the county in which she works or lives.
It becomes even more complex, of course, if the nonparty is not
living or working in Maryland in which case she cannot be required
to give a deposition in Maryland unless served with a subpoena
while in Maryland.
A notice of oral deposition must be mailed or delivered at least 10 days before the deposition is taken to be effective in Maryland. If a deposition notice also requires documents or other records to be produced at the deposition, the time is extended from 10 to 30 days. If a party opposes a deposition notice, they must file a motion for a protective order to "quash" the deposition.
A deposition is taken under the same oath as the one taken at trial. A court reporter is present to take down all of the questions and answers and a transcript will be produced. (See above sample depositions.) The deponent (person being asked the questions by the opposing side's attorney) will be “stuck” with all of the answers given to these questions. Therefore, it is very important that the Plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit be a good and honest historian of their medical treatment (past and present) and the damages that they will be claiming at trial. Most insurance company accident lawyers also depose the Plaintiff in any serious personal injury auto, truck or motorcycle accident case. Many defense personal injury attorneys in Maryland believe that this presents a real opportunity to better appreciate who the Plaintiff really is - whether the injury victim is honest and would make a good impression in front of the jury as a person entitled to significant compensation for their injuries. If the accident victim does not come across as honest and sympathetic at her deposition, it is very unlikely that a jury will be willing to significantly compensate that client. Conversely, if our client is good, honest and sympathetic, the case often becomes a lawsuit because computer programs that the insurance companies and their accident lawyers use (like Colossus) to calculate damages, cannot measure real human suffering. Juries can and do.
(Maryland personal injury clients read this paragraph and panic, asking themselves how will they make a good impression in this formal situation particularly when they are so nervous? How can the defense lawyer - and later perhaps a jury - figure out who you are and what you have been through in such a short time? Believe it or not, the defense lawyers typically do and the juries almost always do. Our attorneys' experience has been that in the vast majority of personal injury cases, Maryland juries get it right. The jurors see past how nervous the client is and all of the distractions and they get a decent sense of what happened. This is great news for accident victims who have suffered real injuries and are honest and direct about what they have been through. Here are some more thoughts on giving deposition testimony.)
The insurance companies' personal injury attorney wants to find out your version of the facts, what your injuries are and how they have impacted you, and wants to get an idea of how good a witness you will be on your own behalf. You have to bear in mind when you are being deposed that while you want the defendant's accident lawyer to fully understand what you have been through as a result of your auto accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident or as a result of your doctor's medical malpractice, personal injury victim's deposition is not the time to try to get all of your thoughts out. The defendant's personal injury lawyer is both trying to get your story but also to elicit statements that can be used against you at trial. Accordingly, you must resist the temptation that every personal injury accident or medical malpractice victim - and often even their personal injury lawyer - has to tell their entire story and vindicate themselves and instead merely answer the questions asked. You should answer the lawyer's questions as briefly as you can while still making the answer complete. Accident and medical malpractice victims being deposed also should not volunteer information, simply stick to the question posed by the defendant's attorney. As simple as it sounds, while remembering the defense lawyer is not on the injury victim's side, it is also important to be courteous to the insurance company's accident attorney or medical malpractice defense lawyer. Besides your mother's motto that it is always a good time for good manners, it is also important because the insurance company's lawyer knows that juries award compensation to injury victims who are good people who are hurt, not angry people who are bitter about their injuries.
A final point on giving your deposition or trial testimony for Maryland personal injury victims. While many lawyers will tell you to fight showing that you are nervous when testifying at a deposition or a trial, our lawyers suggest that you just relax and not worry about it. Defense lawyers to some degree but particularly juries are what we call thoughtful consumers. Juries - and sometimes even insurance companies - are willing to pay significant compensation to individuals who have suffered from an accident. But good consumers want to get something for their money - a person they can relate to who has suffered from an accident. Almost invariably, people asked to speak in a formal, legal setting about themselves are going be nervous. Attorneys, judges, and juries understand this. You are expected to be nervous, particularly in the beginning. So relax, and do not worry about it, the truth is what will matter, not whether you are nervous. In spite of what you have heard, trust in the fact that the law generally makes sense and so do juries.
Related Links and Information
- Sample Discovery (sample discovery in a personal injury auto accident, truck accident and medical malpractice cases in Maryland)
- Anatomy of a Lawsuit (step-by-step through a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland Circuit Court)
- Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer Help Center (resources for personal injury lawyers handling accident and medical malpractice cases)
- Maryland Personal Injury Law Blog (blog for Maryland personal injury lawyers discussing legal news, discovery and trial tactics, and Maryland law)
- Preparing Your Client for Deposition (information for personal injury lawyers preparing their client for a deposition in an accident case)
- More on preparing your client for deposition
- Using a Translator in Depositions (tips on how to make the deposition proceed smoothly using an interpreter)
- Deposition Objections (how not to object)
- 30(b)(6) Depositions (the woefully under utilized corporate designee deposition)
- Paul Luvera's Thoughts on Preparing for a Deposition
- Auto Accident Depositions Techniques: How Fast? (blog post by Ron Miller on the Trial Lawyers Resource Center blog on deposition techniques in cases where liability is in dispute and speed is at issue).
- Can Lawyers and Clients Talk During a Deposition? (lawyers have conflicting opinions on this yet rarely is any authority cited when the issue arises)
- Accident and Injury Lawyer Blog (blog discussing personal injury and medical malpractice issues around the country)
- Maryland Lawyer Blog (discussing Maryland legal issues)