Guidelines • Examination of Plaintiff • Personal Injury
An Examination for Discovery is an important step in a lawsuit in which the lawyer for the opposing side asks you questions under oath about the facts relating to the lawsuit. It is important that the facts, as you understand them, come out as clearly and accurately as possible.
Rules for a successful examination
When preparing for the Examination, review any statements given to the insurer or the police and the injuries stated in the Statement of Claim, making note of any errors, omissions or further details required.
Pay attention. Listen to the question being asked. Answer that question directly and clearly. Take your time. If you do not understand a question, ask that it be explained.
Tell the truth and answer honestly to the best of your ability. Even the most skilled cross-examiner cannot hurt you if you tell the truth. If you cannot remember a certain fact asked of you, state that you are unable to remember it at this time. Do not speculate or guess. If you inadvertently answer a question incorrectly, speak up and correct it.
Stick to the facts. Do not use this as an opportunity to give your opinion or vent your feelings about the other party. Never lose your temper. Don’t let words be put in your mouth, ie. “discomfort” instead of “pain”.
Be specific about your injuries and your pain. Be careful not to forget less obvious injuries, etc. anxiety, depression and injuries to jaw, hands and feet which are often forgotten. Neither exaggerate nor downplay your injuries, pain or losses. Remind yourself and the questioner, if necessary, that you are not a doctor.
Recall activities you cannot do and why, making note of those you have tried or are doing with pain. Remember that the insurer may have information about you from other persons including employers and acquaintances.
Be frank about income loss, even tips or earnings which you did not report to the Canada Revenue Agency.
List all your expenses ie. mileage (for you or someone who has been driving you), babysitting, cleaning help – even if these services have come from family members.
Let the questioner finish his/her question before you begin your answer. Do not interrupt. Your lawyer will make any necessary objections and in doing so inform you why the question is inappropriate and whether and how it should be answered.
Do not argue with the questioner. Do not be offended or upset by the questions, ie. that you are not telling the truth. The questioner is merely trying to throw you off your guard and to get hasty answers.