If you file a personal injury lawsuit, there is a significant chance that the at-fault party’s attorney will ask to take your deposition at some point. It is often one of the most challenging and intimidating parts of the litigation process. Once it is done, here is what you can expect next.
The court reporter present at the deposition will use a recording device or take notes in shorthand to create a record of everything that is said. In the several weeks following the deposition’s conclusion, the court reporter will make a verbatim report. This report will include a complete account of the deposition in its exact wording, including the questions asked in your responses and any other interactions within the court environment. It will become a vital piece of evidence throughout your case, particularly when you must prove what you did or did not say concerning your personal injury accident.
Each party receives a copy of the transcript and has a chance to look for inaccuracies or errors. Notify your attorney if you notice any misinformation or if you accidentally misspoke when responding to a question. Depending on the circumstances, your personal injury attorney may need to depose more witnesses to establish an accurate picture of how your injury occurred or to dispute false information presented by the defendant. After reviewing the deposition, your lawyer can give you a more definitive opinion about your case’s outcome.
The defendant may ask that you complete an independent medical examination after the deposition. This is a fairly common request, and the insurance company will likely choose the doctor who will perform the exam. The insurer uses the doctor’s assessment to compare it to the one provided by your treating physician. The exam will be framed as unbiased, but it is typically the insurer’s intent to disprove your injuries and their severity. The doctor may attempt to catch you off guard in their questions to see if you slip up in your story of how the injury occurred. All in an effort to reduce your compensation. Your attorney will prepare and advise you before the exam so you don’t unintentionally hurt your claim.
Following the independent medical examination, another round of negotiations is likely. The majority of personal injury cases settle before trial, but it can go back and forth for some time before there’s an agreement. Try to be patient and not in too great of a hurry to settle. Waiting and being persistent will often increase your settlement. If the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount, your attorney may recommend a trial.
If you were able to reach a settlement agreement, the insurance company will send you a check once you sign a release of liability, which means you will not take further legal action. The insurer typically has 30 days to send payment. On the other hand, if your case makes it to trial and the jury decides the defendant is liable, they will also determine your award for damages (compensation). After a settlement or favorable judgment, your lawyer will collect your payment and pay for the costs associated with your case, including their legal fees, before sending you the remainder of your award.
If you have any questions or concerns about the personal injury lawsuit process, contact CaseyGerry. We can help guide you through your deposition and every additional step along the way to ensure you recover fair compensation. Message us online or call (619) 238-1811 to schedule your free consultation today.