What Happens After a Deposition in a Car Accident Case in Alabama?

Car accident victims usually seek compensation through a standard insurance claim process, but sometimes, settlement negotiations fall through. If this happens, your Alabama car accident attorney may file a lawsuit on your behalf. 

Personal injury cases will then proceed to the pre-trial discovery phase, which includes deposition, a type of formal out-of-court hearing. Find out what you should expect during this stage and what happens after a deposition in a car accident case.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is an official court hearing in the early stages of a lawsuit. Car accident depositions take place out of court and include giving testimony under oath. You, the other motorist involved in the collision, and available witnesses will give an account of what happened during the accident, including any possible violations of traffic rules or car safety practices.

Both sides’ attorneys will question the people giving testimony. This process helps lawyers understand how the accident happened, evaluate the reliability of witness testimonies, and estimate the extent of the damages. Depending on the case, deposition may conclude in a single hearing or spread out over multiple sessions that take a few days.

Your attorney will prepare you for the deposition and let you know what you can expect. They may advise you how to respond to certain questions the other side’s lawyer is likely to ask, and how to avoid making statements that may harm your case. 

What To Expect After a Deposition

What happens after a deposition in a car accident case may depend on how the hearing went and whether the other side is willing to offer a reasonable settlement.

Reviewing the Deposition Transcript

Within a couple of weeks, both sides will receive a transcript of the deposition hearing based on a verbatim recording by the court reporter. You and your attorney may review the transcript for accuracy. Let your attorney know whether you notice any mistakes or contradictions in the transcript.

Your attorney will evaluate how the deposition may affect the outcome of your lawsuit. If the lawyer determines your case needs another witness, they may call for an additional deposition.

Medical Examinations After Deposition

The defendant’s lawyer may request you to undergo a medical exam that confirms any accident-related injuries. You’d need to visit a doctor the liable insurer chooses. 

Settlement Negotiations

Settlement negotiations during the litigation process may include formal mediation. Mediation usually takes place once both sides have reviewed the information collected during discovery, including everyone’s deposition testimonies. Once this happens, both parties have a better understanding of their case and its likely outcome.

At this point, the liable insurance company may come up with a settlement offer. Your attorney will evaluate the offer and help you understand whether it reflects your claim’s worth. If the offer is reasonable, you may choose to accept it, and then your case will settle without a trial. You will collect a settlement, the case will close, and you won’t be able to make any future claims based on this accident. 

Should You Accept a Settlement or Go to Trial?

Going to trial with a car accident lawsuit always involves risk. The outcome can be unpredictable, meaning you could win a larger award than expected or walk away with nothing.

Usually, it’s in everybody’s interests to resolve the case before trial. Settling is more secure and means you’ll receive your payout more quickly, which is important when shouldering high upfront medical costs while unable to work. 

If the other side refuses to come up with a fair settlement offer and your attorney believes you have a solid case, you may choose to go to trial. Your lawyer will help you weigh the risks and benefits of settling versus going to trial, but the decision will ultimately be yours. 

What Happens During a Trial

If you decide to take your case to trial, your lawyer will help you prepare for testifying in the courtroom. Other people who may give testimony include witnesses who had seen the car crash and expert witnesses like medical professionals and accident reconstructionists. The other side’s lawyer may use your deposition to verify your statements. 

After hearing both sides, the court will issue a verdict and, if you win, determine your award. 

While only a small percentage of car accident lawsuits end in trial, you should choose a lawyer with a solid courtroom track record. You’ll have a better chance of resolving your case successfully when the other side knows your attorney is prepared to fight for you at trial. 

How Soon Does a Car Accident Case Settle?

If your case is relatively straightforward and the negotiations go smoothly, you may be able to reach a settlement within a few weeks of your deposition hearing. More complex cases could take a few months or longer. Your personal injury lawyer can give you a time estimate based on their experience in similar cases.

Jackson & Foster: Helping Car Accident Victims Seek Justice in Mobile, AL

No one wants to be counted among the car accident statistics in Mobile, AL, but when the unexpected happens, you need a trusted legal team to advocate for your rights. Contact us at Jackson & Foster to learn what to do after an accident, what happens after a deposition in a car accident case, and how our skilled lawyers can help you claim compensation for your damages.

Call 251-433-6699 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today.

Contact us for an evaluation of your case today.