Deposition After Mediation in a Personal Injury Case
If you were injured in an accident someone else caused, filing a personal injury lawsuit might be your best option to recover compensation. However, you should not pursue legal action against another person without understanding the process and what it entails. Knowing what to do during every stage is crucial to the outcome of your case – especially mediation and deposition.
What Happens After Depositions Conclude?
A deposition is an out-of-court process during which lawyers ask a witness, called a deponent, questions relevant to the case. As the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, you will be asked questions about the accident and your injuries by the defense attorney. Your lawyer may depose and question the defendant.
After depositions conclude, these steps typically happen next:
- Preparing the transcript– A court reporter attends depositions to record the questions and answers. They might use an audio recorder or stenography device. The court reporter will transcribe the recording into a written transcript for the parties in the case to review.
- Reviewing the transcript– Attorneys can request a copy of the depositions to review. They will look for inconsistencies or errors that need to be corrected. Notify your lawyer immediately if you notice something the court reporter transcribed incorrectly.
- Evaluating your deposition– Your lawyer will likely review your deposition transcript to further determine your case’s strengths and weaknesses. An honest appraisal of your performance can help you prepare for the upcoming trial. Your lawyer will also determine whether deposing additional witnesses is necessary to clarify aspects of the case.
- Court proceedings– Either lawyer can use depositions as evidence during a personal injury lawsuit. Your deposition might be beneficial in court pleadings. It can serve as a factual basis for your allegations against the defendant. Your depositions can also help to contradict the defendant’s testimony during the trial or further prove your case.
How Long After Deposition Is Mediation?
Mediation is a method of settling a lawsuit outside of court. Either party can request one, or the judge can mandate mediation before the trial can start. Typically, there isn’t a required timeframe to schedule mediation after deposition. It can happen days after depositions end or months later. It depends on the circumstances of the case.
Understanding the Mediation Stage in a Personal Injury Case
Depositions are part of the discovery stage in a lawsuit. Discovery allows opposing sides to obtain evidence from each other to build their cases and dispute the other’s claims. Once discovery ends, the court might require the parties to attend mediation if they don’t reach a settlement agreement.
Personal injury lawsuit mediation is a procedure for discussing legal issues and trying to resolve the matter without going to trial. It involves a mediator, an unbiased third party who facilitates conversations to help settle the case.
Mediation is an informal and inexpensive process with a range of benefits, including:
- Customized settlements– When you settle during mediation, the written agreement is customizable. Each party can negotiate the terms and tailor them to meet their interests.
- More control– You have more control over the outcome of your case when you resolve your issues through mediation. Instead of a judge or jury issuing a verdict, you get to help decide what happens.
- Overall satisfaction– You might not get everything you want in a settlement agreement. However, you might feel more satisfied with the results since you have a say in what happens instead of leaving the outcome in the hands of a third party.
- Finality – Mediation can help resolve a legal matter so you can concentrate on other things like your recovery. You can also avoid the expensive and time-consuming appeals process.
How Does Mediation Work in a Personal Injury Case?
A mediation conference is a mutually agreed upon meeting between opposing sides in a lawsuit. The plaintiff, the plaintiff’s lawyer, the defense attorney, the insurance company representative, and the defendant meet at a neutral location. While the structure might differ from one mediation to the next, most involve these stages:
- Introductions – The mediator will introduce themselves and ensure every party in attendance knows each other and their role in the legal matter. They will discuss administrative aspects such as fees, confidentiality, and the process involved. Once everyone understands what’s expected of them and signs the confidentiality agreement, mediation can begin.
- Addressing the issues– The plaintiff’s lawyer and defense attorney give their opening statements to discuss the issues and evidence that supports their cases.
- Negotiations – After opening statements, opposing parties typically separate for the rest of the mediation. The mediator will go back and forth between different rooms to facilitate negotiations. The mediator can’t enter judgments or make decisions for the parties. Their job is to offer suggestions to resolve the matter.
- Signing an agreement– If mediation is successful, both sides can discuss their preferred terms. The mediator will draft a settlement agreement to be signed. That agreement is later presented to the judge to resolve the legal case.
If mediation doesn’t work, multiple options are available, such as:
- Going to trial – The parties can go to court to resolve the legal matter.
- Continue negotiating– You can continue negotiating while preparing to take your case to trial. Settlements can occur at any point in the lawsuit until the court reaches a decision.
- Scheduling another mediation– Either lawyer can request another mediation. You might have made progress in the first mediation but simply didn’t resolve the case. You might have been close to settling but couldn’t agree to specific terms. You can try again with a second mediation to hash out the details and reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
Call a Wheeling, WV Personal Injury Attorney Today
Lawsuits can be complicated. Personal injury mediation and depositions are often time-consuming and stressful. However, they can also yield more mutually acceptable results than going to trial.
At Jividen Law Offices, PLLC, our team has over 50 years of combined experience representing injured clients in West Virginia. We can help you determine if mediation is right for you and represent you during the process. Call or contact us online today for your free consultation if you sustained injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence.