A deposition is a formal part of a personal injury case, in which both sides discuss the specifics of your injury and accident as they prepare to go to trial.
Generally, your personal injury attorney will present you with the option to go to trial if a negligent party's insurance refuses to settle, offers a very low settlement amount, or denies your claim altogether.
During the deposition, you (as the victim) have a chance to talk about your suffering in a personal injury matter, offering more detail or elaborating on how your injuries have impacted other aspects of your life negatively. This is a significant turning point in the process since it is arguably the most difficult part of a personal injury case. It's recommended that you have an attorney present on your behalf during a deposition. If you do not have an attorney, the law offices of Brandon J. Broderick can help. We have years of experience managing personal injury claims and representing accident victims. Contact us today to go over your case and figure out what you should do next.
After a deposition is over, what happens next? We'll look at the typical steps taken in a personal injury lawsuit below. But first, here's further details about what a deposition is.
What Is a Deposition in a Personal Case?
A deposition is an examination that takes place in the "discovery" phase. A personal injury lawsuit goes through four key stages:
A party to the lawsuit or witness testifies under oath during the deposition, which takes place outside of court. If you are the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit), your attorney will interrogate the witness. Both parties have a chance to hear their side during the deposition portion. Every witness' story will be heard, during which the attorneys can then evaluate how credible the case is and determine the possible outcome at trial. It unveils vital information about the lawsuit for both parties.
Should I Have An Attorney During a Deposition?
Having legal representation during your deposition is smart. If you try to handle things on your own, you might not be able to tell whether the question the other side is asking you crosses the line. You may be instructed by your attorney not to provide any information that might be used against you or your case.
What Happens After The Deposition?
A Transcript Is Recorded and Provided By a Court Reporter
The questions that were asked, your responses, and any other conversations that take place in the courtroom are recorded by the court reporter. In a deposition, all that is said is recorded while the court reporter also takes shorthand notes. These notes and the recording will be utilized to create a report of the entire deposition verbatim. This report can be used to determine exactly what you said or didn't say regarding your accident.
The deposition transcript may take some time to arrive and plays a part in determining the next steps.
Deposition is Reviewed By Both Parties
Both parties will have the chance to thoroughly evaluate everything said during the deposition after your attorney obtains the transcript. Most likely, you will sit down with your attorney and carefully go over it. You may occasionally come across errors, such as incorrect facts that were brought up during your testimony or the other party's, or instances in which you accidentally said something incorrectly. You should speak with your lawyer right away if you find any mistakes in the deposition.
The lawyer will take into account several additional elements as they evaluate the deposition, including:
- Inconsistencies or errors in the testimony of the other party.
- Whether you need another witness for your case.
- Any acknowledgements of guilt by the other Party.
Independent Medical Exams
The opposing party may occasionally ask for an independent medical evaluation. The status of your injury and your physical condition will be evaluated by a new doctor that you have yet to see through your present recovery. The doctor will evaluate how your injuries have affected you in each area of your life. From here, the other party's insurer may compare the new doctor's evaluation to the assessment that your attorney previously provided. This could form the basis of your personal injury claim.
The doctor may attempt to mislead you during this examination or look for any indication that your injuries did not occur as you claimed or that they do not limit you in the manner you initially claimed. It's important to remain consistent when you discuss your injuries, even with a medical professional.
With your attorney's help, you can ensure you are ready for the independent exam. The other party's strategy is to find a way to reduce the compensation that you will receive through information revealed by the independent examination. Extra information that isn't necessary should not be given to the examining doctor. Remember your attorney's counsel regarding the material you should disclose during your exam.
In the majority of personal injury cases, it takes multiple rounds of negotiation between the injured party and the insurance provider for the responsible party before an agreement is reached.
Before there is even a thorough investigation, an insurance provider may begin an initial round of negotiations. During this first round, the settlement amount that the insurance company offers you may not be the amount that you are entitled to for your injuries, but rather the amount they wish to pay you – sometimes very low. Accepting this settlement offer could spare you from taking a lot of the claim's subsequent steps. Accepting that offer, however, may significantly reduce the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries. Before accepting any settlement offer, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you about whether or not you should accept an offer.
Here's how it works. If you decline their first offer, your attorney will send a demand letter that will include the amount you hope to recover for your injury, based on your medical costs and other financial losses related to the accident. The company will have the option to accept your demands or make a new offer.
You also have the option to accept or reject a settlement offer throughout each round of negotiation.
If you are unable to reach an agreement after negotiations, what do you do? The next step to attempt to resolve the case without a trial would be mediation.
You and your lawyer will meet with the insurance company and/or its representatives and a mediator, who will try to assist you in reaching a resolution. A judge or a former judge will typically serve as your mediator. They will assist you and the at-fault party in understanding your rights and the possible outcome of your case because they are well-versed in personal injury law.
During mediation, both parties have the chance to provide all supporting documentation and evidence, while also verbally explaining how the accident and injury has impacted your everyday life.
The mediator will usually offer advice about what actions you should take, or even propose a reasonable settlement proposal with the intent that both parties agree and settle their legal dispute.
After the medication, there are two options: agree to settle your dispute or decide to go to trial.
Take Your Case To Trial
Your attorney might advise going to trial if both negotiation and mediation fail to produce a resolution. Personal injury cases are typically resolved outside of court. However, going to trial typically entails high legal costs, in addition to the other costs that the at-fault party and/or their insurance company could be forced to pay. Because of this, insurers typically try to stay out of court whenever possible.
However, it does not necessarily mean a claim won't make it to trial. If it does, having an attorney representing you from the beginning will make this step that much easier, as they will be well-aware of your claim and your goals.
Much like a mediation, both sides will have the opportunity to present their claims and arguments, as well as evidence, during the trial. After both sides have been heard, the court will make a decision about your claim. Then, his legally-binding verdict must be followed by both parties and the insurance provider.
Discuss Your Personal Injury Lawsuit With An Attorney For Free
You may require an experienced personal injury attorney if you were involved in an accident and are scheduled to appear in a deposition. Never attempt to go it alone. An attorney by your side could mean the difference between a fair settlement and a flat-out denial of your claim.
We have decades of experience at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney At Law. Let our valuable experience in injury law work to your benefit. Get in touch with us immediately, so we can discuss the details of your case. This is a free, no-obligation call.
With offices across New York, New Jersey and the Tri-State, we’ve helped people just like you resolve potentially stressful personal injury cases. Let us help you today.