People who file car accident lawsuits might end up going to depositions during the discovery phase, which is a formal process of exchanging information about witnesses and evidence. Before a deposition will be scheduled, significant discovery and litigation will have already occurred. If you are a plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit and are scheduled for a deposition, you might wonder, “What happens after a car accident deposition?”
What Happens After a Car Accident Deposition?
A deposition is an out-of-court hearing at which your attorney and the defense lawyer will each be able to call witnesses and cross-examine the witnesses called by the opposing party. Depositions normally have a court reporter present who will transcribe everything that is said. Each attorney can raise objections that a judge can rule on later in the case. However, a judge and jury are not present at depositions.
A deposition gives both sides the opportunity to learn what the witnesses will testify to in court if the case goes to trial. It also allows the attorneys to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each witness and whether a jury will likely find them to be credible. Both attorneys can order transcripts of the deposition, which allows them to cross-examine witnesses who try to change their testimony if the case goes to trial.
Settlement Negotiations After a Deposition
Once a deposition has taken place, the defense lawyer will report back to the insurance company about what occurred and his or her read on the testimony. This may include the following topics:
- The lawyer’s judgment of the deponent’s credibility
- The lawyer’s opinion of how a jury might react to the deponent
- The deponent’s appearance and whether he or she appears to have suffered serious injuries
If you made a good impression during your deposition, the defense lawyer might encourage the insurance company to offer more money to try to settle your claim. Your attorney will communicate any settlement offer that is subsequently made and talk to you about whether you should accept or reject it.
If you did not make a good impression at your deposition, the defense attorney will likely encourage the insurance company not to increase any offer that is already on the table. In rare cases, an insurance company might revoke a settlement offer that it made before the deposition if you did not accept it.
There might be some additional negotiations that take place after your deposition. You might decide to settle your claim or reject your offer. Your attorney will help you decide whether you should accept the offer, reject it, or make a counteroffer.
After your deposition and once the discovery phase ends, the judge might require you and the defendant to attend a pretrial conference or an alternative dispute resolution conference like mediation. These are informal meetings that are held by mediators or settlement officers. The purpose of a pretrial conference or mediation is to try to reach a resolution. The settlement officer or mediator might meet with each side individually first and relay information between the parties. Both sides might be heard together so that the settlement officer or mediator can learn each party’s side and the damages that are being claimed. If a settlement is not reached at this stage, the case will go to trial.
If your case goes to a jury trial, you will have the opportunity to call witnesses on your behalf and to testify about your accident and injuries. Your attorney will also likely call medical experts to testify about the extent and severity of your injuries and how they impact your life.
The defense lawyer will be able to cross-examine you and your witnesses and to call witnesses on the defendant’s behalf. Once both sides have rested, the case will be sent to the jury for a verdict.
Get Help from an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Now that you know what happens after a car accident deposition, you should talk to an experienced attorney about preparing to be deposed and planning for negotiations. Trying to navigate a car accident claim in which you suffered serious injuries without legal representation is rarely a good idea. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today at 417-322-2222.