What Happens After a Deposition in a Car Accident Case?
A deposition can be a crucial part of your car accident case. It is a series of questions asked by lawyers while a witness is under oath.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition in a car accident case describes a meeting or interview in which a party involved in the case is asked questions on the record by the attorney of the other side of the case. If you filed the car accident claim, for example, and are acting as the plaintiff, you may have to go to a deposition where the defendant’s attorney asks you questions about the crash. Although depositions take place outside of a courtroom, your testimony is given under oath.
A car accident deposition takes place in the discovery phase of a lawsuit – the part of the case meant to give each side the opportunity to find out what the other side knows. The discovery phase can involve depositions, eyewitness interviews, subpoenas for evidence, requests for documents, and questionnaires called interrogatories. The discovery phase takes place between the filing of a lawsuit and a trial. Settlement negotiations can happen at any time.
What Purpose Does the Deposition Serve?
The goal of a deposition in a car accident case is to establish certain facts as true. Doing this in the pretrial phase of a lawsuit can make the legal process more efficient by eliminating the need to establish these facts on the stand at court. If both sides of a case agree to a fact during depositions, there is no need to dispute it at trial. Depositions also allow both parties to understand what occurred during the car accident and which damages the victim is claiming. As an accident victim, a deposition is your chance to tell your side of the story.
Post-Deposition Settlement Negotiations
If you have to give a deposition during your car accident case, the next legal process to expect is pretrial settlement negotiations. The answers you gave to questions during a deposition may change the insurance company’s view of your case or damages. The insurance company may reevaluate its initial settlement offer and adjust it higher based on the transcript of your deposition. If the insurance company increases its settlement offer and you wish to accept, this will be the end of your case.
If the car insurance company still does not offer an adequate amount for your injuries and losses after your deposition, your attorney can try to negotiate with the claims adjuster during pretrial hearings. Your Phoenix car accident lawyer can use information obtained during depositions to strengthen negotiations. If alternative dispute resolution (mediation or arbitration) fails and the defense still refuses to settle, your car accident case will have to go to trial for a resolution instead.
Personal Injury Trial
Your car accident case may end up before a judge and jury in a courtroom in Phoenix if the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable or adequate settlement. If the insurance company wrongfully denied your claim, you may also end up at trial.
At a car accident trial, you will have the opportunity to testify about the crash on the stand. Your Phoenix personal injury attorney may also use information gained from depositions to support your case or undermine the defense. The defense will also have a chance to take the stand. Then, the jury will have the task of determining what damages, if any, the law entitles you to receive.
For more information about a car accident deposition and the claims process as a whole, Contact Gallagher & Kennedy at (602) 530-8400.