What Happens After a Deposition in a Personal Injury Case in Utah?

Posted on June 27, 2024

If you’ve suffered a serious injury with damages like medical expenses, income loss, and pain and suffering, you’re probably hearing some legal terms for the first time from your lawyer. One of those terms you’ll hear often during the early stages of the legal process is “deposition.” Depositions are interviews that occur between attorneys and witnesses in legal cases. Depositions take place outside of court but the witnesses’ statements are sworn testimony, typically transcribed and later presented during negotiations for a settlement or in court.

Once the deposition process is complete, many personal injury victims and eyewitnesses to injuries in Utah ask, “What happens after a deposition?”

Understanding Depositions in Utah Personal Injury Cases

Depositions in personal injury cases allow the injury victim, or plaintiff, and the defendant in the case to gather evidence from the other side. Depositions are a critical part of compiling relevant information in the case during the discovery phase.

Those ordered by a court to attend a deposition must be present for the appointment. The key witness in a deposition is typically the injured party. The deposition is the injury victim’s chance to tell their side of the story and answer questions about the incident that caused the injury. Eyewitnesses and expert witnesses may also be deposed during the discovery phase. Depositions are often video-recorded and a court reporter transcribes the deposition into a transcript.

What Is the Personal Injury Process After a Deposition?

After the depositions, the discovery phase may continue if the case requires further evidence on either side. Accident reports, photos, videos, and the victim’s medical report all become important evidence in addition to the depositions. Once the discovery phase is complete, negotiations begin toward a settlement. The injury victim’s attorney examines the evidence and makes a compelling case for liability.

Then they carefully calculate economic damages like the injury victim’s medical expenses and lost wages. They use a formula based on the medical expenses and the victim’s pain level to arrive at an amount of compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Then they attend meetings with the insurance adjuster assigned to the case by the liable party’s insurance company. During these meetings, both sides work toward a mutually acceptable settlement amount.

In many cases, one or more mediation sessions take place as part of the negotiation process. In mediation, all parties and their attorneys meet to discuss the terms of a settlement. Professional mediators provide a neutral third party’s opinion on the terms of the settlement and help facilitate a resolution.

Reaching a Settlement or Going to Court

The final portion of the personal injury process is the settlement agreement. Over 93% of personal injury cases are resolved through out-of-court settlements. When the parties reach an agreement, the injury victim accepts the settlement and signs away their right to file a lawsuit. If the insurance company fails to offer an acceptable settlement or wrongfully denies the claim, the injury victim may file a lawsuit and take the matter before a judge and jury as long as they file the petition within Utah’s four-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims.

Although the court process takes longer than a settlement agreement, it can be beneficial to the victim in the long run since sympathetic juries often award a greater amount of compensation than the injury victim would obtain in a settlement. If you need help with learning more about the personal injury settlement process, get in touch with a Utah personal injury lawyer today.