Brian White | July 25, 2023 | Personal Injury
If you have gotten to the deposition stage for your personal injury case, you have already filed a lawsuit. Courts simply don’t administer depositions until someone files a lawsuit. Unfortunately, there is no certain rule that can tell you how long you will have to wait for a settlement after your deposition. A settlement could happen quickly, or it could drag on for months. It all depends on the facts of your particular case.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is an out-of-court, under-oath Q&A session between a lawyer and the opposing party’s witness. It typically takes place in the conference room of a law office. Its main purpose is to give each side an idea of what kind of testimony their witnesses will offer. The ultimate goal is to avoid “trial by ambush” because surprise testimony can put one side at an unfair disadvantage.
At a deposition, lawyers from both sides can “interview” (cross-examine) both ordinary witnesses and expert witnesses. The scope of questioning is not as limited as it would be at trial. Instead of limiting questions to those that seek to elicit admissible evidence, you can ask any question that is calculated to lead to admissible evidence. Although the cross-examination is recorded (likely on video), the judge will not be there, so there is no one to rule on objections.
What Is Pretrial Discovery?
Depositions take place in the context of a larger process known as pretrial discovery. Pretrial discovery is an out-of-court evidence-gathering process where both sides take depositions, deliver written questions to the other side, and demand to examine physical evidence. The court can sanction uncooperative parties. The pretrial discovery process can last up to a year, although it doesn’t usually take that long.
Return to the Negotiating Table?
Most parties that participate in pretrial discovery do not anticipate a trial (and don’t want one). Instead, they hope to gather enough persuasive evidence from the other side to tilt the playing field in their favor.
If the new evidence that the discovery process generated tilts the playing field far enough in favor of the defendant, your lawyer will probably advise you to abandon your claim altogether or settle for less than the amount you were hoping for.
If, on the other hand, the evidence tilts the playing field far enough in your favor, the defendant will probably agree to your demands rather than risk a trial. If this happens, you can expect a quick settlement.
If the evidence doesn’t particularly favor one party or the other, you might be forced into a trial. If, on the other hand, you reach a verbal settlement, your lawyers can hammer out a written settlement agreement. Drafting a settlement agreement might take a few weeks or even a few days.
The Disbursement Process
There are also some practical matters that must take place before the settlement check ends up in your pocket. In a typical settlement fund disbursement process, the insurance company sends the money to your lawyer’s client trust fund.
Your lawyer will then deduct any appropriate amounts (such as legal fees, case expenses, and medical liens) and send the rest of the money to you. The process, from signing the agreement to sending the money to your bank account, might take a week or two.
Talk to a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer for Legal Help
Almost all personal injury lawyers in Texas work on a contingency fee basis. This means you’ll pay nothing upfront. Ultimately, your legal fees will amount to a percentage of your compensation (typically 30% to 40%). Take care when selecting your lawyer. It might be the most important decision you make in the entire case.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You With Your Claim
For more information, contact the Houston personal injury law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
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Houston, TX 77098
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Houston, TX 77054