Legal proceedings can be both a confusing and a stressful time in your life, whether this is your first time in court, or as a businessperson you find yourself amongst the process often.
There are often a lot of hurdles that you have to jump over as you build your case and a deposition is normally one of these hurdles which shows up regularly.
Here we will give you a brief explanation of what a deposition is, the timeframes to expect, if a case can be settled after the deposition stage, and what happens after the deposition.
All of these topics are only here to help you understand what is happening with your case. Your own case will be looked at individually, so please keep in mind that as you read through this breakdown.
What is a Deposition?
First off, let's explain what a deposition is. A deposition is a spoken statement from a witness which was taken under oath.
These statements are used to gather information as part of the pre-trial research. Sometimes a deposition is also used in trial. The witness who has made a deposition is known as a deponent.
Can a Deposition Lead to a Settlement?
Sometimes a witness's deposition can be enough evidence for a case to be settled out of court. Most depositions are used in this way.
The idea is that the deposition will give enough leverage that the case won't even be taken to court, however, if that doesn’t happen the deposition can be used in court as evidence.
This might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how that statement affects your lawsuit, and how the negotiations are affected.
How Long After a Deposition Is A Case Settled?
This time varies, and the reason for the different time scales is to do with how the negotiations go. If you can agree with all of the terms that are brought out to settle the case, then all you need to do is sign some papers.
If there is no middle ground to settle on, then the negotiations can break down, making the settlement take longer as the lawyers decide upon a settlement agreement.
Normally the process is somewhere in between these extremes. You might agree to some but not all of the terms, and the attorneys on both sides need to try to come to a compromise.
There are also times when the people involved are not the reason for the delay. If your case includes medical examinations or treatments then these would need to be completed before your case can be settled.
Because of these factors, we can’t give you a proper timescale. There isn’t a limit to how long the review or negotiations can take.
But that being said, there is a limit to how long it can take to file a lawsuit. Depending on your state, that limit will vary.
If you want the fastest time for a case to be settled after deposition, then we would say 4 months, but remember that that is the best case scenario with no hiccups along the way.
Settling a case can take a long time, and it isn’t something that can be rushed, even if your case is clear cut. We would recommend patience during this time.
Speak with your lawyer and ask them to keep you informed. The likelihood is that your case isn’t taking any longer than another case in the same situation.
Do Most Cases Settle after Deposition?
There isn’t an example or a timeframe we can give for when cases settle, but we can confirm that most civil lawsuits do settle before trial.
Normally the cases will settle when the discovery phase is closed, and the discovery phase includes depositions.
The discovery phase involves gathering information whether that means finding facts or producing evidence to support or undermine a claim. This could be done through written questions from interrogations, requests for admission, requests for production as well as depositions.
This is normally the longest part of the litigation process. So even if the depositions have been collected, there might be more information gathering needed before the whole discovery phase can be completed.
A case might not settle after deposition if the parties involved cannot come to an agreement, or a middle ground. At that point, a trial is needed to settle the case. In most cases, the attorneys can find an agreement before it gets to that stage.
What Happens After A Deposition?
Once the deposition and the other parts of the discovery phase have been collected, your paralegal will start searching through all that data to find information that, when joined together, can solidify your case.
In this process, your attorney may need to verify the information that was said in the deposition to make sure that they can back up the claims. They might also need to talk to other witnesses or follow up on a potential lead.
This is all part of the discovery process still, but the process has now gone from gathering the data to confirming the data.
When both sides are ready, the attorneys will display their information. They will decide if they can agree to a settlement once this has been done. If they cannot agree, then they might push for a trial if the evidence is strong enough.