What Happens After a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case?
Before a lawsuit goes to trial, the parties to the lawsuit will have an opportunity to collect facts about each other’s causes of action and defenses. This process is known as “discovery,” and it can include written questions, document exchanges, and depositions. A deposition is an interview that is recorded to determine what the person knows about the facts of the case.
When you retain us to represent you in a slip and fall or any other kind of negligence or accident case, you will always have a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney at your side before, during, and after a deposition to help you prepare for the questions that you will be asked and to make you comfortable when you are answering those questions.
We will also explain every part of the discovery and deposition processes to help you understand what might happen after a deposition in your personal injury case.
Which parties are likely to be deposed?
An accident case is typically filed by someone who is injured (the plaintiff) against a defendant whose negligence caused the accident.
If, for example, you have been injured as a result of a fall and you retain Chaffin Luhana to handle your case, we might take depositions from the owner and manager of the property where you fell as well as any witnesses who saw your accident.
The defendant’s lawyers will also likely take your deposition to ask you, for example, about your knowledge of any hazards on the property and the injuries that you suffered as a result of your fall.
How are depositions used in accident lawsuits?
A court reporter will record your answers, and the deposition transcript will establish your version of the circumstances that led to your accident. If the responses in other persons’ depositions are consistent with yours, a negligent defendant might be persuaded to settle the lawsuit without going to trial– based solely on the strength and consistency of everybody’s recollection of the accident.
Alternately, a negligent party might elect to take the lawsuit to trial, and you will be called to testify. In that event, your attorney will review the deposition transcript with you to make your that your trial testimony is identical to your deposition answers.
Can you be deposed more than once?
There are a few rare and unusual exceptions that might justify a second deposition, but the rules that apply to the discovery process allow an opponent in a lawsuit to take only one deposition of another party.
Nonetheless, the answers that you give in your deposition can lead to other discovery requests. For example, a request that you submit to a separate medical exam to determine the scope and extent of any injuries that you sustained in a slip and fall.
We would carefully review these and other additional discovery requests to verify that your opponent in a lawsuit is not harassing you and that the scope of the information that is derived through those requests is within the allowable limits of discovery in your case.
What happens after depositions and discovery are complete?
Discovery is designed to be an orderly process that allows everyone to see all of the relevant facts in a lawsuit. Although these facts may be interpreted differently, the lawsuit will follow some common paths:
- if the facts are clear and undisputed, the parties will engage in settlement discussions and resolve the case;
- if the facts are clear and undisputed, but the parties are unable to settle, they might ask a court to resolve issues of liability and damages without conducting a trial through a process known as summary judgment;
- if there are serious disagreements over facts, liability, or damages, the parties will try the case.
In every case, the parties can continue to engage in settlement negotiations up to and including the opening day of any scheduled trial.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation
Our attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion in damages as well as multi-million-dollar individual recoveries. If you retain our firm and we agree to represent you in your negligence lawsuit– we will fight by your side throughout the discovery and deposition processes and keep aggressive defense lawyers from intimidating you at your deposition.
We represent injured parties in Pittsburgh and throughout western Pennsylvania and West Virginia to recover the damages they deserve when another person’s negligence leaves them with losses and injuries.
Additional Resources/Link to referenced Statistics:
- alllaw.com: The Deposition in a Personal Injury Case. https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/deposition.html
- lawyers.com: Whose Deposition is Taken in a Personal Injury Case? https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/personal-injury/personal-injury-basics/whose-deposition-will-get-taken-in-a-personal-injury-case.html
- nolo.com: Will I Need to Get My Deposition Taken in a Slip and Fall Case? https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/will-i-need-get-my-deposition-taken-slip-fall-case.html