If you have injuries due to a car accident, you have the legal right to pursue damages related to your case. Earning compensation is not easy, though. The other driver’s car insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible to protect its bottom line. If you cannot reach an amicable agreement out of court, your best option may be to go to trial
During discovery, attorneys will likely arrange a deposition. This meeting may sound serious, but it plays a vital role in the case and can be beneficial.
What happens after a car accident deposition? Here are the subsequent steps and how you can prepare for them.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition involves an attorney asking a witness or other relevant party questions about a case. The answers collected in these meetings serve two purposes: 1) determining what witnesses know and 2) preserving their testimony.
Attorneys collect this evidence before the car accident case goes to court, so both parties can collect as much information as possible before considering a trial.
While favorable testimony can benefit an attorney, it is not the sole intent of a car accident deposition. Attorneys use it as part of the discovery process to better understand the case. The testimony provides them with the information necessary to formulate strategies and tactics if negotiations are unsuccessful.
How Do Depositions Work?
Car accident depositions often take place at an attorney’s office, as opposed to a courtroom. The attorney asks the witness a series of questions about the case, while a court reporter documents the answers word for word. The court reporter remains present throughout the sessions and creates a transcript within a few days.
Any party can attend a deposition, and the witness can have an attorney on hand. The attorney’s powers are not as broad as they would be in a courtroom, though they can object to lines of inquiry. Questions during a deposition can be more extensive than those at trial, and the process can last a few minutes up to a week.
It is important to remember that depositions occur under oath. If someone makes false statements under oath, they are liable to have criminal and civil penalties. People found guilty of perjury may go to jail for up to five years.
What Happens After a Deposition?
The discovery phase marks the first stage of a car accident case. The next three steps can include mediation, trial, and appeal. Note that some of these steps do not apply to every case.
According to the American Judges Association, up to 97% of civil cases settle out of court, meaning most people never go to trial or make an appeal. A trial occurs only when the two sides cannot reach a satisfactory resolution during mediation. An attorney may opt for an appeal if they feel that the verdict was unfair or inaccurate.
Going to Court vs. Reaching a Settlement
Each personal injury case is different, so what happens after a deposition varies. Most people want to avoid a formal trial because of legal costs. Those cases typically involve mediation or negotiation between the insurance company and the plaintiff to reach an out of court settlement.
A lawyer may bring a case to court if they believe the insurance company should pay more in the settlement offer. The lawyer will review the answers in the testimony to gauge how a judge and jury may react to the answers. The quality of the depositions provides a reliable indicator of how winnable a personal injury case is.
What Happens If the Car Accident Case Goes to Court?
A few things have to happen after your deposition for your case to go to court. The court reporter must prepare the deposition transcript verbatim using a stenography device while following the federal court reporting program’s rules. That includes recording all the dialogue from the depositions and condensing it into a single document.
Both parties review the transcript and comb it for errors or inconsistencies. Correcting statements before a trial minimizes the chance of misinformation during the legal proceeding. Reviewing the depositions also allows lawyers to evaluate the case’s strength and find any missing holes.
Some lawyers may ask for a medical examination following the testimony. An independent doctor can lend their professional expertise to clarify how bad the injuries are. Medical testimonies are frequent in severe cases involving broken bones, brain injuries, and other trauma.
Contact Georgia Auto Law Today
Depositions can be stressful, and it helps to have a trusted legal professional by your side. Call our office at (404) 662-4949 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.