Suppose you’re a victim of a personal injury accident. In that case, you have the legal option to file a lawsuit against the liable party’s insurance company responsible for the accident to recover compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies often offer only small amounts of compensation or deny claims altogether. If this is the case, you need to take legal action.
A deposition is an essential part of any personal injury lawsuit. During the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit, deposition takes place. Always have legal representation to help you through the deposition process for your best interests. Here’s a breakdown of the process outlined by Phil Votaw & Associates.
Personal Injury Depositions: What Are They?
There are four main phases in a personal injury lawsuit:
Hearings that take place in the disclosure phase are hearings under oath. In the hearing phase, which usually takes place outside of court and in the other party’s presence, a party or witnesses make their statements under oath.
If you are the party initiating the litigation, your attorney will ask questions of the witness who is testifying under oath. In a deposition, both parties have the opportunity to listen to what each party has to say. Attorneys for both sides also have the opportunity to hear the other side’s version of events, assess the reliability of the testimony, and speculate on how the judge or jury would respond to the witness. It’s in the best interest of all parties to consider these details during the dispute.
What Comes After The Deposition?
After a witness testifies, several important events relevant to the litigation will most likely follow. You can prepare for these events;
Preparation Of A Transcript By A Court Reporter
A court reporter transcribes each court hearing and trial word for word according to the law and the federal court reporting system. Court reporters usually take stenographic notes of all available testimony during the hearing. They also use handheld microphones, recording devices, or stenotypes.
Immediately after the conclusion of the hearing, the court reporter begins preparing a legible transcript. As the trial progresses, all parties must have access to this transcript. It often takes several weeks to complete.
Inspection Of The Transcript By All Parties
After the transcript is prepared, the court reporter sends copies of the report to both parties. Each attorney will do a thorough review of the transcripts. Your attorney will review the information and look for errors or inconsistencies in the material. Take the opportunity to point out to your attorney any errors or inaccuracies you have seen in the material submitted.
It is possible that after the review, your attorney may conclude that they need to listen to additional witnesses and possibly schedule a new hearing date.
Evaluation Of Witness Statements By Attorney
After your attorney has reviewed your witness statements, they will legally evaluate the impact of the statements on your case. That includes positive and negative aspects, so be prepared for both. If there are gaps in the information you have provided, your attorney may request to listen to additional witnesses.
You May Have To Submit To A Medical Examination
After your testimony, the opposing party may request that you submit to an independent medical examination. Filing a personal injury lawsuit for damages is usually a typical procedure.
The Insurer May Dictate Which Doctor You See
In most cases, the insurer will select the attending physician to perform your medical examination. You may be under the impression that this is objective, but sometimes, it is not. The doctor may try to downplay the severity of your injuries or investigate possible causes other than the collision. When you hire a competent attorney, they will protect you from any strategies insurers may use to take advantage of you. Therefore they will;
- Orient you not to give the doctor too much information.
- Please inquire about your personal injuries and how they have affected your life.
- Gather all the documentation you will need for settlement negotiations.
Court Proceedings Or Settlement
Your attorney will continue negotiations with the insurer after the hearing once the medical examinations are completed. The goal is to avoid litigation by agreeing on a reasonable settlement amount. They will use every tool at their disposal to prove that you are in the right. The time you spend negotiating can be extensive, as thorough assessments are sometimes necessary. If your insurance company makes a settlement offer, your attorney will review it with you to determine whether or not it is truly reasonable.
A competent attorney can give you expert advice on what steps to take, but it’s up to you to decide whether or not to settle the case:
- If you accept the settlement offer, the case will be dismissed, and you’ll receive a check for the agreed-upon amount. The law won’t allow for any further inquiries into the incident in the future.
- However, if the insurer doesn’t offer a settlement that you feel is appropriate, your attorney will explore the possibility of taking the case to court.
That said, it’s always best to hire a competent attorney familiar with your claim’s complex legalities and the compensation process. That way, you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind.