What Happens After a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?
A deposition is a critical moment in any personal injury case. The other side probably asked you about what you were doing in the minutes leading up to an accident, as well as asked questions about your injuries. But what happens after deposition in a personal injury case? Once you finish your deposition and head home, the personal injury case continues. Below, our Aiken, SC personal injury attorney highlights the usual sequence of events.
1. The Court Reporter Provides a Transcript
Some depositions are videotaped, but it is still standard to have a court reporter sit in and record all questions and answers. If all goes well, the reporter should produce a written rescript and provide it to all parties in a few weeks. Sometimes, we have ended up waiting months, which is not ideal.
2. Each Side Reviews the Transcript
Your attorney will receive a copy and immediately begin reviewing it. The other side’s lawyer should also receive a copy. There are several things we look for.
Transcription errors. Even the best court reporters make mistakes. They might spell someone’s name wrong or clearly get a date wrong. We will work with the other side to clean up these kinds of errors. The purpose is not to change the substance of answers—we can’t do that. For example, if you said you were looking at your phone while driving, we can’t correct that. But if your name is spelled wrong, we can.
Inconsistencies in the other side’s testimony. Inconsistent statements often signal that a person is withholding information or lying. For example, you might have been attacked in a store that lacked adequate security. In a deposition, the store owner claims they never had criminal activity in the store. However, they also testify that they carried a gun with them while working. This inconsistent fact suggests the owner knew that crime was a real possibility.
Gaps in the testimony. Sometimes a person isn’t necessarily lying, but there is some missing information that becomes obvious when reviewing deposition testimony. For example, a truck driver might claim he made a phone call while idling at a gas station. Only then do we realize we never requested the driver’s cell phone records because we didn’t think he had a phone. Based on the testimony, we can dig deeper to find helpful information that assists in reconstructing the accident.
Admissions of responsibility. The person who hurt you might blurt out an admission that puts them potentially at fault. These facts can show the person was responsible for the accident that injured you.
3. We Might Depose More Witnesses
For example, someone might admit in the deposition that a person was in the car with them when they hit you. You were too injured in the crash to notice, and the person could have left the scene before the police arrived. Now that we know their identity, we might request that this person sit for a deposition.
This is one of the key purposes of depositions—to uncover facts that we didn’t know about. Often, we go in search of additional evidence based on what we learned.
4. You Might Take an Independent Medical Exam
The purpose of this exam is to review the severity of your injuries. The other side might think your doctor is playing up the seriousness of your injuries because they are “on your team.” This is why they might request an independent medical exam (IME).
The doctor performing the IME isn’t neutral or “independent” in any sense of the word. Instead, he or she was probably hired by the other side’s insurance company with the express goal of minimizing your injuries. Our legal team can talk to you about what to expect in the IME. It is important to be prepared.
5. We Continue to Negotiate a Settlement
Negotiations start before a deposition—usually, as soon as you hire us. However, we usually see an uptick in negotiation activity following depositions. For example, if a truck driver admitted to being drunk in a deposition, then a trucking company might realize it’s in their best interest to quickly offer a fair settlement. Our legal team can also use information gleaned in a deposition to our advantage.
Negotiation might also include mediation, where all sides meet with a mediator to discuss the case. Mediation is often helpful at getting everyone on the same page regarding what issues are in dispute. Mediation session can sometimes lead to a breakthrough in negotiations.
6. We Go to Trial, if Necessary
There might be no way to resolve a dispute but to go to trial. Depositions prove very helpful as we prepare. We have a good idea of what a witness will say in court based on their deposition testimony. If they suddenly tell a different story on the witness stand, we can confront them with their deposition testimony. If they suddenly “forgot” what happened, we can refresh their memories by referring to the deposition.
7. You Get Paid
If you win your case—either by receiving a settlement or winning in court—you ultimately get paid. The insurance company should pay out promptly after a settlement is reached and you sign the settlement agreement. They pay your attorney, who deducts his fees and other costs of litigation. Then your lawyer sends you a check.
If your case went to trial, the other side might try to get the judge to reverse the verdict, but that is rarely successful. Talk with a lawyer about how long you will need to wait after trial to receive money.
Speak with a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The road to receiving favorable compensation is difficult. Attending a deposition is only one event on a very long timeline. To learn more about the personal injury process,contact Surasky Law today. We will be with you every step of the way, advocating for justice.