What Happens After a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?
Following the deposition in a personal injury claim, several steps take place to finalize the claims process. From court reporters providing written transcripts to payment, there are several key processes that will occur after the deposition.
What to Expect After the Deposition in a Personal Injury Claim
Throughout the deposition, injury victims can discuss the pain and suffering resulting from their injuries. They can disclose what took place during an accident, along with the ways their injuries have affected their lives. This process is often difficult for many individuals to overcome in a personal injury case.
Following the deposition, there are additional steps in the claims process.
Court Reporters Create and Share Written Deposition Transcripts
During a deposition, a court reporter records everything the claimant states regarding the nature of his or her injury and the personal injury damages he or she sustained. The reporter will also record anything else stated throughout the deposition, including answers to any questions and other in-court interactions.
The court reporter either records notes manually or through a recording device. After this process, the reporter will develop an accurate report that includes every detail about what each person said in the deposition verbatim. This will help confirm statements made regarding the deposition.
Attorneys Review the Deposition
After the reporter provides the transcript of the deposition, it will be reviewed by the claimant’s and liable party’s attorneys. In the process, the attorneys will work with their clients to make sure both understand the information provided in the deposition.
If there are inaccuracies in the deposition, whether these include false information or misspoken statements, it’s important for claimants to discuss them with attorneys.
When reviewing the deposition, attorneys will also look for other details that might affect the case, including:
- An inaccurate or shallow picture of the accident that might benefit from additional witness testimony.
- Admissions of guilt from the other party.
Independent Medical Exams
Defendants in personal injury cases may request that injury victims undergo an independent medical examination to prove the extent of their injuries.
In an independent medical exam, a neutral doctor who’s different from the one who performed the initial exam and treatment will further assess injuries. Based on the new and initial assessments, insurance companies may draw comparisons and make adjustments.
Throughout the independent examination, the doctor responsible may attempt to find out if the injury victim exaggerates his or her injuries and the way they impact the victim’s life. This is particularly the case with injuries that aren’t as visible, such as brain injuries that can affect an individual’s cognitive abilities.
If the exam shows that the victim’s injuries aren’t as severe as initially claimed, the defendant in the case may seek a decrease in the amount of compensation awarded to the claimant.
Before reaching a settlement, insurers and victims will typically begin negotiations. The initial negotiations may take place soon after the inciting accident. At this point, the insurance company likely hasn’t conducted a complete investigation and may make an offer that’s far less than what the case is actually worth.
It’s important for injury victims to turn down initial offers that insurers make, as accepting this can prevent them from receiving further compensation. This is why it’s best for victims in Chicago to consult with a Chicago personal injury lawyer before beginning negotiations and accepting an offer. An attorney may be able to help with the negotiation process, calculate damages that victims are eligible to receive following an accident, and seek full compensation.
After turning down the first settlement from insurers, injury victims and their attorneys can compose demand letters that detail the total amount of compensation they believe they should recover. This demand letter will account for all damages sustained following an accident, including monetary damages such as medical expenses and non-monetary damages like pain and suffering. Throughout negotiations, the victim’s attorney may also continue looking into the case and determine if there is any evidence that might help increase the amount the claim is worth.
Once both parties have reached an agreeable settlement, claimants can accept the offer and move forward with the claim.
If both parties involved fail to come to an agreement, the process may lead to mediation. During this process, claimants and their attorneys will either speak with the insurance company or a mediator to help reach a favorable settlement. Mediators, who normally have experience as a judge or currently work as one, will be able to connect with both parties to determine what the outcome will likely be in the case.
Throughout the mediation, the injury victim and defendant will both have the chance to make their arguments and provide evidence supporting them. In the process, either victims or their attorneys can present their cases. A good attorney will also make sure their client understands what to expect with each mediation session, eliminating the risk for any potentially unpleasant surprises.
If the mediation process doesn’t result in an agreeable outcome, the case may then go to trial.
The Trial Process
Although the majority of personal injury cases reach settlements out of court, some may wind up going to trial if neither party can agree on a settlement. However, it’s rare for these cases to make it this far, often because of the expenses involved in taking the case to trial. To avoid the various legal fees and other expenses pertaining to trial, liable parties and their insurance companies frequently attempt to settle before the case ever makes it to the court system.
During the trial process, the plaintiff and defendant will both be able to present their cases as they had during initial negotiations and mediation. They’ll also be able to gather and present evidence supporting their claims.
After presenting their respective arguments, a jury will make a decision ruling either in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant.
If both parties still can’t agree on the verdict, either may choose to appeal the court’s decision after the trial process concludes. In cases where the defendant appeals the decision to award compensation to the plaintiff, the defendant wouldn’t need to pay any money to the plaintiff until they are no longer able to appeal.
There are several potential outcomes of an appeal in these cases. The court may decide to revise the final verdict, make the initial verdict void, or transfer the case to a lower court to begin a new personal injury trial.
After the court reaches a verdict in a personal injury case, the injury victim will be able to recover payment. In most cases, the liable party or insurance company will have a limited amount of time in which they can pay the plaintiff. If the victim doesn’t receive their payment on time, the liable party or insurer may be subject to penalties or fees due to late payment.
When to Consult an Attorney
Personal injury cases often settle out of court, but these cases can be complex and involve many elements. Injury victims need to be able to build a strong case that supports their claims, which they may struggle with due to a lack of experience with personal injury law, and they may not be aware of all the damages they may be qualified to recover.
The aftermath of a deposition in a personal injury case can become difficult to navigate, with multiple processes involved, which is why it’s often best to work with a lawyer who has experience in these matters. From reviewing the deposition to handling negotiations and taking the case to trial, it’s important for victims to understand what to expect following a deposition to reach a successful outcome in personal injury cases.