What Happens After a Deposition?
May 14, 2019 Published in Personal Injury
A deposition is something that happens during the discovery phase of a court case. It is one of the many pre-trial processes that allow both parties to create their strategies moving forward. Depositions involve witnesses answering questions about the case, during interrogations from both sides. The goal of a deposition is to give both parties all the facts of a case before a trial. What happens after a deposition generally remains the same from case to case in Illinois.
A Court Reporter Transcribes the Deposition
Court reporters are present during depositions. It is their jobs to transcribe the testimonies witnesses give under oath. The court reporters will listen to the depositions and transcribe them in real time, using a stenography device that lets the reporter quickly type what was said in a form of shorthand. Then, the court reporter will transcribe the pages of shorthand into standard English. A typical deposition transcription will take a few weeks to produce.
Both Parties Review the Transcripts
Once the deposition transcripts become available, both parties will have the opportunity to look them over for mistakes or inconsistencies. Mistakes may occur through the transcribing process itself, or through something a witness said during testimony. If either party realizes that someone misstated a fact or that the court reporter misquoted a witness, it can request a correction. Most attorney use special software to assess deposition transcripts. Attorneys can request additional depositions, if necessary.
Updates to Legal Strategies
After making sure the deposition transcripts are complete and accurate, attorneys from both sides will use the information to update their legal strategies. Facts may have come out during depositions that one or both parties did not previously know. Lawyers will spend days or even weeks perusing deposition transcripts for anything that could help or hurt the case. An attorney may update his or her strategy based on what a client said during deposition, and then inform the client of any changes going forward.
If a witness said something incriminating during depositions, his or her attorney may update the strategy based on this information. Witnesses can elect to have their attorneys present during depositions, to help them avoid saying something that could negatively impact the case. A lawyer can request other witness depositions to fill any gaps his or her client left during the interrogation.
Post deposition, one or both attorneys may order additional discovery. Follow-ups are relatively common after depositions. Attorneys may realize they need to obtain additional documents, subpoena other witnesses, or verify facts that came forward during deposition. Follow-up discovery during a personal injury claim often involves the defense asking the plaintiff to undergo a medical examination under the physician of the defense’s choice. The insurance company will choose the doctor the plaintiff sees. The plaintiff’s attorney will help him or her know how to go through the exam.
Settlement or Trial
Upon completion of all discovery procedures and follow-up requests, the parties will work to settle the case out of the courts. The plaintiff’s attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company, with the goal of settling the case for a fair compensation amount. Most personal injury claims reach successful settlements post-deposition without the need to go to trial. This can save both parties time and money. However, some personal injury cases require trials for full recovery.
Attorneys will prepare their clients for trial, if need be. Deposition transcripts may come forward during a trial to compare them with ongoing witness testimony. If a witness cannot attend the trial, the lawyer can use the transcription of his or her deposition as a substitute. All deposition information is fair game during a court trial, since witnesses offered it under oath. Witnesses may have the opportunity to clear up something they said during depositions while on the bench. Hiring a Springfield personal injury attorney can help either party navigate post-depositions processes.