When you get injured in a wreck you probably have two important goals: to get your life back to normal again and to be paid compensation from the at-fault driver. The process involved in getting paid the money damages you deserve can be long, but you should realize that you may be offered a settlement at almost any time from the moment of the wreck all the way up to the court's final judgment. Read on to learn about one important part of the trial process that could turn out to be profitable for you.
The Pretrial Prep
When you are owed money damages because of a wreck there are essentially two different ways to be paid. You can take your case to court and win a judgment or the other side can offer you a fair settlement amount in return for you dropping the case.
You may need to proceed to trial if no fair offer is forthcoming, but that doesn't mean that you won't still be offered money at any point in the process. As a matter of fact, there are some pretrial actions that might actually encourage this behavior from the other side.
Discovery and the Deposition
When a trial is in the works, be it civil, criminal, divorce or other types of cases, both sides are expected to participate in an exchange of information that precedes the beginning of the trial. This process is called discovery and it can consist of several different actions but none more dramatic in its ability to change the course of the case than the deposition.
A deposition actually looks a lot like a trial but it is not as formal and there is no judge presiding. Held in a conference room and attended by your auto accident lawyer and the other involved parties, it consists of giving recorded testimony. Unlike in court, however, only one deponent will be in the room at a time. Anything you or anyone else says during a deposition can, later on, be used in the upcoming trial.
If you keep in mind that a deposition is part of the information-gathering process of discovery then you might imagine that the other side will "discover" that they might not want to proceed with a trial. Once they get a good look at the full scope of evidence you have on your side and that will be presented at trial they may wish to make you an offer you cannot refuse. Not only is the information gained a key part of a deposition, however; the way you act under questioning could also play a part in the decision to settle out of court.
Speak with your attorney about how to behave during a deposition to ensure that you get offered a good settlement.