Understanding Car Accident Depositions
The millions of vehicles on our roads result in extreme congestion in some areas of our nation—and more cars equals more accidents.
If you or a loved one were an unfortunate victim of a car accident, you deserve to have an experienced lawyer working aggressively to help you recover compensation for your injuries. The best way to help you get better quickly is to make sure you have no stress about how your bills get paid.
The last thing you need to worry about after a car accident is how you will pay your bills. You need to focus on getting the best medical care and attention you can and putting all of your effort and energy into your physical recovery. When you have a trusted car accident attorney working alongside you and helping to get you every dollar you deserve, you can let the legal worry go and focus on your physical needs.
What a Car Accident Deposition Is and Is Not
A deposition is part of the discovery process after you have filed a personal injury claim for your car accident injuries. Discovery is when each side’s lawyers ask questions of the other side and ask for documentation and other records. Discovery is an important part of the personal injury claims process because it often leads to a settlement. In fact, the vast majority of civil cases settle out of court.
Reaching a settlement is usually in the interest of both parties because a trial can become an expensive and time-consuming process. By conducting discovery, it gets the parties together to share information and hopefully lead to settlement negotiations.
A deposition then is an opportunity for both sides to ask accident witnesses, expert witnesses, and victims like you specific questions about the car accident itself. A deposition is recorded, but it is not a trial. In essence, a deposition is important because it allows your attorney to know exactly what a witness remembers and what an expert has concluded about the circumstances surrounding your car accident. You certainly do not want to go all the way to trial to then learn the accident reconstruction expert determined the accident was your fault.
Depositions are also less formal than a trial. Again, they are recorded with the help of a court reporter and your statements can be used if your case ends up in trial, but depositions usually occur at one of the attorney’s offices or at a neutral location. Deposition questions are usually broader in scope than what you might see in a courtroom, too. Your attorney can make objections to questions but you may be required to answer the question anyway, even if a judge later rules to strike the question and answer from the record.
It’s important to remember that while you are still under oath while giving a deposition, the experience will be less formal than a courtroom. It also has the added benefit of the sharing of relevant information which can lead to a settlement, something many clients prefer to a protracted trial.
Timeline After a Car Accident Deposition
Now that you know what a deposition is and is not, you may wonder what comes next. It’s important to note that not every car accident case follows the same path after a deposition. But generally speaking, you can expect these things to happen in your car accident injury case after a deposition.
Preparation of the Transcript
As part of the court reporting program, a court reporter must record any court session or proceeding. This includes out of courtroom activities like a deposition. This is important because you want to make sure no one misquotes what you said during the deposition but also to have your attorney review later to make sure they gather all of the information necessary to your case.
Preparation of a deposition transcript usually takes some time, especially if the deposition was long. It’s not uncommon for a deposition to last an entire day, or longer, depending on the circumstances surrounding your car accident. As a result, it could take several weeks for your attorney to receive a copy of the deposition transcript.
Review of the Transcript
After the court reporter finishes the transcription of the deposition, they will provide a certified copy to your attorney and the attorney representing the at-fault driver. During the next few days or weeks, your attorney will carefully review the transcript to ensure your statements are correct and to gather any information they may have missed during the deposition or which might now be much more relevant.
Many times, either party’s attorney may determine that it’s important to call other witnesses to depose to gather additional evidence and information about the car accident. Other times, it might lead one or both parties to realize that a settlement is in their best interest and work diligently to settle the case together.
Depending on the severity of your car accident, you may have serious injuries. More than 3,000 people die in Florida car accidents each year. While not every car accident results in a death, it shows the seriousness with which car accidents can impact victims’ lives.
After a deposition, it’s common practice for the other side to request an independent medical examination. The idea here is that the other side may think your doctor is making your injuries appear worse or more severe than they really are to help you get more money out of the insurance company. Interestingly, it’s usually the insurance company that chooses the “independent” doctor you will see. Clearly, there is the potential for some bias.
As your car accident injury attorney, we will prepare you for the examination by helping you:
- Not give the doctor too much information
- Have your own doctor prepare a report about how your injuries occurred and your quality of life before the accident
Your Lawyer’s Evaluation
After all of this, you will sit down with your lawyer to discuss your options. This will include a discussion of how strong or weak your case is at this point. This will include the good and the bad—we do not want to sugarcoat it for you and will be completely honest in our evaluation of where your case stands.
It’s at this point we may also want to call additional witnesses for a deposition. This can help us clarify some information and gather additional details which may support your personal injury claim.
After both sides take all depositions, it is entirely possible that a trial still awaits. Both sides may feel comfortable and strong about their position in the case. Going to trial is a big decision that we will tackle together. We will, again, be completely honest with you and give you the pros and cons of each possible step.
A trial is an expensive and time-consuming legal task. However, if that’s what we need to do to give you the best chance of maximizing your recovery and making sure you do not pay a dime out of your own pocket, then we have the resources required to stand by you at trial. Not all law firms have the ability to conduct a personal injury trial. We do.
During this time, we will continue discussions with the other side to try to settle. However, we will also make sure we are putting sufficient effort into our trial preparation to give you a good chance of success.
At any stage of the process, a settlement could occur. A settlement is usually good for both sides but we only want to settle when we know it’s right for you. When you played no part in causing your injuries, you should bear no responsibility for the costs associated with your recovery. Our goal is to do everything in our power to get you every dollar you deserve; that includes settlement.
If we are presented with a settlement offer from the other side, we will discuss the offer with you. Again, we will provide you an honest assessment of the offer and if we think it is fair. Ultimately, the decision is yours.
If you choose to take the settlement offer, you should be aware that it will then close your case and you can likely never bring another claim for this accident. That’s why it’s so important to make sure the settlement offer covers everything you will need to help you make a complete recovery.
You want to be certain the settlement covers all of your expenses, including:
- Present and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Rehabilitation costs
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may face a long road to recovery. This could include extended hospital stays, multiple surgeries, and time out of work. In fact, you may never return to work in the same capacity. Not only is this difficult to accept but it can create financial hardship and place additional and unnecessary stress and burden on your family. This is why it is integral that you work with an attorney that understands your needs and can think of how your damages will affect you in the long term so that your settlement can compensate you appropriately. For example, traumatic brain injuries can often result in permanent damage that affects a person for the rest of their life. They do not only have to deal with the initial costs of medical treatment following their accident but also the recurring costs that an injury like this can cause such as the cost of prescriptions, return doctor visits, and long-term therapy or rehabilitation.
When you work with a seasoned car accident injury attorney, you can rest assured they have your best interests at heart and your settlement helps to cover as much as possible.
If You Want to Avoid Car Accident Injury Trial at All Costs
We understand that your focus should be on your physical recovery. The added stress and worry of a trial is not something you need right now. We want you to feel confident that we do everything we can as your car accident injury lawyer We put your needs first and want to help you recover by taking the worry off your shoulders and dealing with the legal complexities. Settling your case is in your best interest but sometimes, a trial is necessary because the insurance company representing the at-fault driver refuses to be reasonable and settle your claim for a fair amount.
We do not want to see you have to pay out of pocket for your recovery so we put our effort into proving your case at trial. While we know a trial will extend the amount of time before you receive compensation for your injuries, we can work together to not only make sure we are fully prepared for trial but also keep an open line of communication with the other party in the hopes of them coming to their senses and reaching a fair settlement offer.
So we understand when you say you want to avoid trial at all costs. We know it can be scary, but we promise it’s nothing like what you have seen in movies. In fact, it’s very similar to your deposition. Lawyers for both sides will ask many of the same questions. The biggest difference is that the judge will be present and there might be a few more people in the room than were present for your deposition.
What’s important is that, even if you know you want to avoid trial at all costs, you choose a car accident injury attorney to represent you who has trial experience. Not every lawyer can handle the complexities and nuances of a trial. Make sure you are prepared for even this remote possibility.
The Right Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Resolve Your Claim
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident, you deserve justice. To get that, you need an experienced personal injury attorney guiding you through the complex legal process, including your deposition and the steps that come afterward. A car accident injury claim can get you compensation for the damages that you suffered as a result of injuries like whiplash, concussions, broken bones, etc. but they take time, resources, and skill to handle correctly. Many people are told by insurance adjusters handling their car accident claim that they do not need an attorney. Nothing could be farther from the truth. An experienced attorney that specializes in car accidents can provide you with the skills and resources tha can ensure you not only are not taken advantage of by the insurance company but also that you receive the best chance at securing maximum compensation.
The attorneys of Dolman Law Group have been representing people harmed in car accidents that were the result of gross negligence for years and can provide you with the best legal advice possible. Don’t take our word for it, look at our results. Many law firms will make you all kinds of promises about all the money that you will get when they represent you but Dolman Law Group can back up our promises with a long record of successful cases that have ensured that our clients not only get the compensation they need to stabilize their lives but also have held those that were negligent accountable for their actions. Consider speaking to Dolman Law Group about your case and what we can do for you by setting up a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765