After a slip and fall, the prospect of a lawsuit can be scary. A court case can be daunting whether you are a property owner facing a premises liability lawsuit filed against you or an accident victim preparing to sue. If you are involved in a slip and fall case, you may be wondering how each stage of the lawsuit works. You may have already had your deposition taken during the discovery process. In this post, the Silva Injury Law, Inc. team will focus on the discovery phase. We will also discuss what happens after a deposition in a slip and fall case.
What Is a Deposition?
First, what is a deposition? A deposition is part of the discovery process in a premises liability lawsuit or other injury cases. In its simplest form, a deposition is an interview with a person who may have facts about the case. This interview will typically be under oath, and the questions will be asked by an attorney and recorded. Often, the recording can be later transcribed or duplicated for use at trial if requested. If you’re facing a deposition in a premises liability lawsuit, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Silva Injury Law, Inc. today. We can help you understand how depositions work, what you need to look out for during a deposition, and what your options are for being deposed.
What Gets Asked in a Deposition?
Attorneys usually have a standard set of questions they want to ask a witness. These questions may include some or all of the following:
- Full name;
- Date of birth;
- Work history;
- Relationship to the parties;
- Educational background;
- State of residence for the past five or more years; and
- Marital status.
After these initial questions, the line of inquiry can become more probing. Sometimes, an attorney asks questions to see if they can obtain information to negotiate a settlement. Other times, attorneys simply try to get as much information as possible to support their client’s case.
What happens after deposition in a slip and fall case may depend on the answers given by witnesses. For example, if neither party obtains much helpful information, they may decide to settle the case. Another option for parties is mediation. We’ll discuss both options a little later in this article.
Who Can Be Deposed?
Lawyers use depositions in the discovery phase of a slip and fall lawsuit. Almost any party or witness in a lawsuit can be deposed. The parties typically agree on who will be deposed. However, court orders can compel witnesses if they do not agree to the deposition.
How Is a Deposition Used in a Slip and Fall Case?
Identifying Next Steps
Once depositions are taken, the information is used to help identify your next steps. What happens after deposition in a slip and fall case typically follows one of several paths. These paths can include:
- Resolving the lawsuit by reaching a negotiated settlement of all claims;
- Asking a court to rule on issues of damages and liability (summary judgment);
- Resolving the lawsuit through non-binding mediation; and
- Proceeding to court.
These options are not mutually exclusive. Parties can continue settlement negotiations up to and including the beginning of a trial.
Most personal injury lawsuits settle before trial. In fact, reaching a settlement is often what happens after deposition in a slip and fall case. Usually, information revealed during the deposition of key witnesses shows each side their case’s strengths and weaknesses. Often, one side will be very eager to settle the case if a witness reveals damaging information during deposition. Sometimes, this can be the most financially lucrative option for the claimant.
If information uncovered during discovery does not immediately lead to settlement, mediation may be a good next option. Mediation is a non-binding process for parties to resolve disputes. Each side presents its case to a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator helps the parties move towards an agreement and hopefully resolve the case.
How Silva Injury Law Can Help
Don’t navigate a slip and fall case or premises liability lawsuit on your own. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., our dedicated team of injury attorneys understands the challenges of personal injury litigation. We focus on compassionate advocacy and fight for your rights while helping you recover. Our lawyers proudly represent clients through our four conveniently located offices in Turlock, Modesto, Merced, and Monterey, California. Contact us by phone or through our online contact form today.