What happens after a wrongful death deposition will depend entirely on the facts of your case. In many situations, the outcome of a deposition could push a case toward settlement or increase the chances of a trial. The testimony given in a deposition could reshape the case outcome in different ways.
After your deposition has concluded, you must discuss your options with your legal counsel. Based on how the deposition went, it could alter your strategy or improve your chances of a favorable outcome at trial. What occurs following your deposition can vary, but two common outcomes include negotiated settlements and additional discovery.
Depositions Are Common in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A deposition is one of the discovery options available in a wrongful death lawsuit. These proceedings allow attorneys for both sides in a wrongful death case to receive testimony from a witness outside of a formal hearing or trial.
Attorneys often use depositions to secure a preview of what a witness might testify to at trial. A deposition is not a part of the trial, but the testimony given could be used in future court proceedings. While the judge in the case will not be present, they could rule on any motions or disputes that arise during a deposition after the fact.
Attorneys opt to use depositions in wrongful death cases for many reasons. Some attorneys rely on this discovery tool to test their legal theories or obtain admissions from another party. Depositions could also be useful for obtaining additional documentary evidence that might not have been collected through other means.
Settlement Talks Often Follow Depositions
Settlement negotiations can begin in earnest following a wrongful death deposition. Often, a defendant or their insurance company might refuse to negotiate a settlement until the discovery phase of a wrongful death lawsuit is completed.
Many defense attorneys want the chance to depose witnesses before they agree to a settlement. This is common, given that shaky witness testimony could impact the likely case outcome.
Often, the outcome of a deposition will confirm what a defense attorney believed all along: that the case against the defendant is strong enough to prevail at trial. In these situations, a case can settle shortly after depositions are concluded.
Whether or not the case settles after a deposition will depend on the circumstances. In some cases, a deposition could be the push a defendant needs to resolve a wrongful death case.
Some Cases Proceed to Trial When a Deposition Concludes
Depositions do not always lead directly to a negotiated settlement. Depositions are especially common in those cases that are most likely to go to trial. A deposition could be the push a defendant needs to resolve a wrongful death case in some cases.
In these cases, you could expect additional discovery to occur following a deposition. Discovery is the step in a wrongful death case where both sides exchange the evidence they intend to use at trial. While depositions are an important part of the discovery process, they are only one tool available to an attorney. Other discovery requests could involve written questions or requests for the production of documents.
Depositions Can Be Complicated in Some Situations
A wrongful death case could have many depositions. The same witness could be deposed on more than one occasion. The more complex a case is, the more likely that additional depositions will become necessary.
Discovery can last for months or even years. Eventually, this part of the process will come to an end. When it does, the parties will begin to prepare for trial. This often involves a flurry of motions from both sides attempting to end the case before trial or limit the evidence a jury is allowed to consider. A trial is the last step in litigation when these motions are resolved.
Your Attorney Can Handle Your Wrongful Death Case Following a Deposition
Predicting what will happen after a wrongful death deposition is impossible. However, your attorney could:
- Evaluate the state of a wrongful death case following a deposition
- Determine the best course of action moving forward
The defendant will make a settlement offer shortly after a deposition concludes in many cases.
You Are Not Alone in Pursuing Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
The good news is, you do not have to wonder about how your deposition might impact your wrongful death case on your own. George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers could help you build a wrongful death case from the ground up.