You brought a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries. Not long ago you were questioned by the attorney for the lawyer who represents the people you have sued. You felt like you were on the hot seat. You went hours and hours being asked questions you felt had nothing to do with your case.

Nevertheless, you made it through in one piece but now you want to extract revenge. You want the pleasure of sitting across from the person who you believe caused your injuries. You want to watch them squirm. You want to watch them answer. You want justifications and explanations about why this happened.

You want to stare them down. You want them to know how you feel.

The real question is:

When your attorney has an opportunity to question the people who you believe caused you injuries, should you be present in the room when this happens?

The reality is that since you have brought a lawsuit in the State of New York, you are legally entitled to be present any time someone is questioned. This is known as a deposition or an examination before trial. This is a question and answer session given in the lawyer's office, under oath. Questions and answers are recorded by a court stenographer and that information is then placed into a booklet and distributed to all the parties to the lawsuit. 

In car accident cases, it is common to have all the participants to the accident present on one day. In that instance, you will likely be present and be able to observe and hear for yourself what the other driver did and why.


In more complex cases with more people who have been sued, it is often not practical to have more than one witness questioned during the day. Cases involving significant accidents, medical malpractice and wrongful death often have only one witness per day. In that instance, despite your desire to appear and be present for the questioning of the person who you believe caused your injuries, it has always been my best practices recommendation that you not appear during this question and answer session.

Here's why.

It is natural to have feelings, emotions and opinions about the person or persons who caused and contributed to your injuries. I can promise you that as you listen to the testimony and the answers given, you will, at times, be frustrated, angry, emotional and may simply want to reach over and grab that person by the neck and shake him.


Instead, the better practice is for you not to appear during the defendant's question and answer session. Instead what I do is contact you a few days later and discuss with you the details of what this witness has testified about. In addition, in about a month or two after the deposition is completed I will receive a written transcript from the court reporter and I will forward that to you for your review. This way you can read exactly what questions and answers were given during this deposition.

This way you avoid the necessity of spending an entire day reliving the events that occurred and developing more aggravation and angst. Frankly, you're better off spending the day doing what you do best. All the details of the deposition will be relayed to you during our phone conversation and when you read the transcript.

Now you know the answer and my best practices recommendation about whether you should appear for the defendant's deposition.  

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer