What Happens After a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?
What happens after a deposition will often depend on how your deposition went.
Depositions are recorded statements given under oath in an informal setting by witnesses before a trial. The purpose of a deposition is to find out what a witness knows about the case and to reduce the risk of surprises when the witness eventually takes the stand at trial.
The Personal Injury Process
If you were injured in an accident someone else caused, you have the right to hold the responsible party accountable through a personal injury claim. This typically involves filing a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance provider. If the insurance company won’t negotiate in good faith or offer you a fair settlement, you might have to file a lawsuit to have a chance at recovering fair compensation.
There are several phases in a personal injury lawsuit that precede an actual trial, and discovery is the lengthiest phase. During discovery, both legal teams request the other side’s evidence and can conduct depositions.
If you are asked to provide a deposition, it will be recorded word-for-word by a court reporter. Court reporters typically use stenotype machines so that they can keep up with what is being said during the deposition, but they may also use an audio device to record the session. Once the deposition ends, they will transcribe the entire deposition into a readable transcript. This can take time, but the transcript will become part of the evidence in the trial. Because of the transcript, the judge or jury can know exactly what was said.
After A Deposition
Your attorney might review the transcript with you to look for any inconsistencies or erroneous information. If you pick up on any mistakes, you should alert your attorney right away. After reviewing the deposition transcript, your lawyer might decide to schedule another deposition to allow other witnesses to give information.
After the deposition, you might have to submit to an IME, or an independent medical examination. The opposing party’s insurance company could require you to see a specific doctor. No matter what it’s called, the exam is hardly independent since the doctor will look out for the insurance company’s interests rather than yours. The doctor might downplay the severity of your injuries or propose other potential causes apart from the accident.
However, you have the right to seek a second opinion and to have your attorney present during the exam. Your attorney knows that the IME is a tactic insurance companies use to mitigate their losses. If you must submit to an IME, your lawyer will protect your rights during and after the exam.
Once depositions, medical exams, and other components of discovery are complete, you might have to go through mediation if the court orders it. If you aren’t able to reach a settlement agreement with the defendant during mediation, your case will proceed to trial.
How Long After Deposition Is Mediation?
Court-ordered mediation often takes place between discovery and the pre-trial phase. How soon after the deposition a mediation session will take place depends on the court schedule and the availability of the mediator you select or are appointed.
Mediation is an informal but structured dispute resolution process overseen by a neutral third-party, such as a retired judge. The goal of mediation is to help you and the opposing party find common ground and reach a fair settlement agreement through compromise and negotiation. Many cases settle during mediation after all the facts of the case have been revealed through discovery. If both parties can agree on a settlement amount during mediation, you can avoid a potentially costly trial. Mediation becomes legally binding when both parties agree to a proposed settlement and sign a written contract.
How Long After Deposition Is Settlement?
Opposing parties can agree to a settlement at any point after a deposition. Sometimes, depending on the evidence turned over during discovery and depositions, your attorney may be able to strike a settlement deal with the defendant’s legal team right away. Settlement agreements can also be reached in mediation, during the pre-trial phase, and even during a trial before a verdict or judgment is rendered.
Contact The Benton Law Firm
If you sustained injuries in an accident that wasn’t your fault and need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to get fair compensation, it’s critical to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to provide you with counsel and support throughout the legal process. You don’t have to endure your deposition alone. Your attorney will be at your side throughout your testimony and will ensure that you don’t make any errors that could end up hurting your case.
Contact the The Benton Law Firm in Dallas at (214) 777-7777 for a free consultation today to find out how we can help you with your personal injury lawsuit.