What happens after deposition in a car accident case? Car accidents leave many victims completely incapacitated and in permanent pain. As a result, they may be unable to work or spend time with their families and friends as they once did. When a car crash results from another driver’s carelessness and recklessness, the accident victim may be eligible to pursue monetary compensation for their injuries and other damages.
The first step to recovering monetary compensation after a car accident is to file a personal injury claim—usually with the at-fault driver’s insurer carrier. However, in many instances, insurance companies are unwilling to compensate car accident victims fully and fairly. When that happens, the accident victim can file a lawsuit in court and pursue the damages they deserve through litigation.
Once a personal injury case proceeds to litigation, the parties will typically engage in discovery depositions. After depositions are complete, the insurance company adjuster may reevaluate the claim and offer additional money to settle.
A knowledgeable Edmonton car accident lawyer in your area can negotiate with insurance company adjusters on your behalf and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in court for you. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout the litigation stage of your case, including at depositions and follow-up settlement negotiations. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the financial recovery you receive in your car accident claim or lawsuit.
Types of Car Crashes
Car crashes usually result from driver negligence. When a driver operates their vehicle recklessly, they may cause various types of accidents, including rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, sideswipe accidents, and broadside accidents.
A rear-end car accident happens when the front of one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle. In some cases, the collision is so forceful that it pushes the vehicle on the receiving end into another vehicle, causing a chain reaction in which numerous drivers and passengers suffer injuries.
Another common type of car accident is a head-on collision. These accidents happen when the fronts of two vehicles moving in opposite directions strike one another. These accidents sometimes result from distracted and intoxicated driving, where the at-fault driver negligently crosses the concrete median strip or center line and hits another vehicle head-on.
Sideswipe accidents, on the other hand, happen when the sides of two vehicles strike one another while travelling in the same direction. These accidents may happen when distracted drivers fail to watch the road and negligently cause their vehicle to veer into another travel lane.
Finally, a broadside collision, or T-bone accident, happens when the front of one vehicle hits the side of an adjacent vehicle. These accidents frequently occur near traffic intersections—or when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way while merging onto a busy road.
If you suffered injuries in any of these car accidents, your lawyer can help you file the necessary claim or lawsuit to pursue the monetary damages you deserve.
Negligence in Car Accident Cases
Most car accidents result from some type of driver error. There are innumerable ways that a driver may operate their vehicle negligently, but most driver errors involve road rule violations, road rage, distracted driving, or intoxicated driving.
Drivers are responsible for following all applicable rules of the road—including all traffic laws on the books. Some of the most common traffic violations that lead to motor vehicle crashes include failing to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at the appropriate time, failing to use turn signals, and exceeding the posted speed limit.
At other times, car crashes result from road rage. Drivers sometimes become enraged when others drive too slowly. As a result, they may tailgate these other drivers or aggressively weave in and out of busy highway traffic in an attempt to get further ahead. When enraged drivers practice these aggressive driving maneuvers, they may inadvertently cause a crash with another vehicle, resulting in serious injuries.
Other car accidents happen when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol, in particular, can impair a driver’s concentration and cause physical symptoms, including blurred vision and nausea. Moreover, since alcohol is a depressant, it may delay a driver’s reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
While most passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent, minor drivers who are under 21 years old, as well as commercial vehicle drivers, must follow stricter standards. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent and higher.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from one of these four types of driver negligence, you have legal options available to you. A skilled car accident lawyer in your area can review your injuries and accident circumstances with you and help you determine what those options are. Your lawyer can then help you file the necessary claim with the insurance company—or file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court.
Common Crash Injuries
Car crashes may cause severe and debilitating injuries, depending upon the force of the crash and the way the accident victim’s body moves in the vehicle. In some car accident scenarios, the collision is so forceful that it causes an accident victim’s body to move violently in one direction and then the other, producing painful soft tissue injuries and muscular contusions.
At other times, the accident victim’s head might strike the steering wheel, headrest, window, or door frame, causing a concussion or other traumatic head injury. Other common car accident injuries include fractures, broken bones, internal organ damage, spinal cord damage, and paralysis.
If you believe you suffered injuries in a car crash, you should seek same-day medical treatment at a local urgent care facility or hospital emergency room. Seeking prompt medical treatment is crucial because it helps to ensure that your injuries do not become more serious. Moreover, if you later file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, it shows the insurance company that your injuries are, in fact, serious.
While you are at the emergency facility, the responding healthcare provider can render emergency assistance, if necessary, and make recommendations for future care if your symptoms become worse. While you treat for your injuries, your lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your claim by gathering up your medical treatment records, lost wage documents, investigation reports, and victim personal statements. Once your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit all of these documents to the insurance company and begin the settlement negotiation process.
Recoverable Damages in Car Accident Claims and Lawsuits
Car accident victims may recover various damages, depending upon the type of accident, the extent of their injuries, and whether or not they suffered a permanent impairment or disability in the accident. Since every car crash case is different, not all accident victims will recover the same types and amounts of monetary compensation.
Some of the most common damages that car accident victims may recover include compensation for their:
- Lost earnings if they had to miss time from work due to their injuries.
- Loss of earning capacity if they switched to a lower-paying job due to their injuries.
- Mental distress, if they sought treatment from a psychologist or psychiatrist due to the accident and their injuries.
- Inconvenience, if they experienced disruption to their life due to the accident and resulting injuries.
- Past and future pain and suffering to compensate them for their prior and anticipated symptoms
- Loss of the ability to use a body part, if they suffered a permanent injury in their accident which limits sensation or movement in one or more body parts
- Loss of spousal companionship if their injuries impair or prevent their ability to be intimate with their spouse.
- Loss of life enjoyment if their overall quality of life decreases due to car accident injuries.
Your lawyer can help you maximize the damages you recover by highlighting the strengths of your car accident claim while downplaying any weaknesses. Your lawyer can also help you decide whether to accept a pending settlement offer or file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a conclusion in court.
Pre-litigation: Filing an Insurance Claim
Before filing a lawsuit and litigating your car accident case in the court system, your lawyer will first need to file a personal injury claim on your behalf—typically with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Once the adjuster reviews all of the claim documents, including your medical treatment records, lost wage statements, earning statements, photographs of your injuries, and personal statements, they might offer to resolve your case via settlement. However, initial settlement offers from adjusters are usually far below the claim’s actual value.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the adjuster several times if necessary and pursue the highest settlement offer available. However, if the adjuster refuses to compensate you appropriately, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and begin the litigation process.
Litigation and Discovery Depositions
The litigation phase of a case starts when a car accident victim’s lawyer files a lawsuit in court. However, even though a lawsuit is pending in the court system, the parties can still resolve their case through settlement at any time. In fact, most car accident cases do settle at some point prior to trial.
During litigation, the parties will engage in discovery. As part of discovery, the parties will answer each other’s written questions, called interrogatories, and take one another’s depositions.
A discovery offers an opportunity to learn about the other side’s version of the case. In most instances, it is a defence lawyer who will take the accident victim’s discovery deposition.
During a deposition, the defence lawyer may ask questions about:
- The circumstances surrounding the car accident
- The injuries that the accident victim alleges they sustained in the accident
- The medical treatment that the accident victim underwent
- How the accident victim felt during the treatment
- The type of pain that the accident victim experienced while treating
- The accident victim’s current symptoms, if any
- Whether the accident victim had to miss time from work due to their injuries
- Whether the accident victim had to switch jobs as a result of their injuries
- The overall effects that the accident had on the accident victim’s quality of life and well-being
Post-deposition: What Happens?
Once a discovery deposition takes place, the defence lawyer will typically draft a report for their insurance company adjuster’s review. This report will usually contain information about how the deposition went, the quality of the accident victim’s answers to various questions, the way in which the accident victim testified, the content of the accident victim’s responses, and the type of witness the accident victim will likely make at trial.
Once the defence lawyer and the insurance company adjuster have a chance to speak about the deposition, the adjuster may review the deposition transcript and other materials and ultimately reevaluate the claim.
After performing this reevaluation, one of two things may happen:
- After speaking with the defence lawyer, the adjuster may increase their most recent settlement offer on the case.
- The adjuster may leave their most recent offer the same.
Although it sometimes happens, it is unusual that an adjuster will decrease their most recent settlement offer after an accident victim testifies at a discovery deposition.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can thoroughly prepare you for your deposition, helping you make the best presentation possible. After your deposition occurs, your lawyer may continue settlement negotiations with the insurance company or with the defence lawyer and can help you decide whether to accept a particular settlement offer.
Call a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer to Represent You in Your Case Today
One of the most important steps you can take after a car accident is to retain an experienced Edmonton personal injury lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer can help you recover the monetary damages that you need to become whole again after your accident.
In addition to filing a lawsuit and litigating the case on your behalf, your lawyer can represent you during depositions—and during all pre- and post-deposition settlement negotiations. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the compensation you receive for your car accident injuries.