I saw a car wreck last year. Apparently a lawsuit was filed and now they want to take my deposition. I got a subpoena saying I have to show up at some lawyer’s office and give a deposition. Do I have to do it?
Yes. There are a couple technical rules that the lawyer had to follow concerning proper notice of the deposition, proper service of the subpoena, selecting a proper location for the deposition, but assuming the lawyer did those things right then you have to show up unless you receive permission from the lawyer issuing the subpoena not to show up.
Sometimes lawyers will subpoena a person to a deposition only because the person refuses to have an informal meeting with them and discuss the case. If that is true in your situation, you may wish to meet with the lawyer and perhaps the deposition will be canceled. Remember, however, that there are probably at least two lawyers involved in the case and the lawyer for each of the parties to the case will want to know what you saw. So, it might actually be easier for you give a deposition.
If the date and time is inconvenient for you, feel free to ask the lawyer to re-schedule the deposition. Most lawyers will accommodate you. If not, you can ask the court to change the date and time, but that involves you filing papers with the court and that can be a hassle.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t ignore the subpoena. Courts frown on that and you may find yourself having to explain to a judge why you didn’t show up. That will involve even more inconvenience to you and, in fact, since a subpoena is a court order, it is possible that the judge could throw you in jail for violating a court order.
Are you a personal injury lawyer who came across this post? John Day writes a blog for personal injury and wrongful death lawyers called "Day on Torts." John handles personal injury and wrongful death cases of all types across Tennessee and can be contacted either here or by the "contact" form to the immediate right of this post.