It's simple, really.
It's because you have to.
There you go.
That's the answer.
Well, not exactly.
Let me start at the beginning before we get to the end.
You sued your doctor for causing you harm.
You brought a medical malpractice lawsuit claiming that he violated the basic standards of medical care.
Your doctor denies all of your allegations.
What a surprise.
During the course of your lawsuit, the attorney who represents the doctor you sued will have a chance to question you.
This is known as a deposition.
It's also known as a pretrial question and answer session that lawyers call an examination before trial.
The answers that you give carry the same exact weight as if you are testifying at trial in court.
The only difference is that you're not in court.
You're in your attorney's office.
His conference room to be exact.
And there's no judge there.
And there's no jury there.
There's only a court stenographer (we call them court reporters) to record all of the questions you're asked and all of your answers.
During your questioning by the defense lawyer, he asks you a question that I feel is inappropriate.
I yell out "OBJECTION!"
You look over at me, thankful that I'm there to guide you during this stressful time and are pleased that I've objected to such a rude question.
But a moment later, I tell you to go ahead and answer the question.
The look on your face reveals your confusion.
You don't understand.
I just objected to an inappropriate question.
I said so myself that it was inappropriate.
The exact wording was "That's irrelevant!"
Then I told you to answer the question.
Yes, you read that correctly.
I told you to answer that inappropriate question.
Now why would I do that?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, because I have to.
Let me explain...
When you bring a lawsuit seeking money as a form of compensation for your injuries, the defense attorney has a chance to learn all about what happened. They have a chance to ask you all sorts of questions even if you believe it's unrelated to the claims we're making or the defenses the doctor has raised about why he's not responsible for your injuries.
This is known as the 'discovery' phase of your case.
Each side gets to 'discover' evidence and testimony about what happened in your matter.
Not all of it will be useful.
Not all of it will be permitted at trial.
But since this is 'discovery' the defense is given wide latitude to ask questions that don't have a direct bearing on your claims.
They can ask about your past medical history.
They can ask about your family history.
They can ask about your earnings history (assuming you've brought a claim for lost earnings).
They can ask about the medications you take.
They can ask where you lived before.
They can ask who you live with.
They can probe into your sex life (assuming you've made a claim that your injuries affect your relationship with your spouse).
There's a lot they can ask you about that you or I may think are inappropriate.
There are only two or three instances where I can legally tell you NOT to answer the question (I'll save those details for another article.) Otherwise, you'll have to answer the question.