Article Updated: September 8, 2021
How Long After a Deposition is Settlement ?
I have been asked this question at least 100 times. It’s a fair question.
However, first you should be asking, can a deposition lead to a settlement in my case?
Either way, I have you covered. Keep reading to get answers to both questions, and more, regarding depositions and how they relate to settlements in personal injury cases.
Clickable Table of Contents
411 on Post Deposition Settlement
7 – About the Author
What Are the Possible Outcomes After a Deposition?
After a deposition a few things can happen. Namely, those things are:
◊ More discovery and investigation
◊ Additional deposition(s)
◊ Settlement conference
I did that in chronological order of what is likely to happen and in what sequence.
I did leave out the possibility of the case being thrown out after a deposition. Technically, that should be on the list as it’s a possible outcome after a deposition.
However, it’s not likely or typical, so I did not include it. I would call the case being thrown out a possible but not reasonably probable outcome after a deposition.
Can a Deposition Lead to a Settlement?
The short answer to the question of whether a deposition can lead to a settlement is yes, a deposition can absolutely lead to a settlement.
But when clients ask this question, they really mean to ask something else. They mean to ask whether a deposition will lead to a deposition in their specific case.
Remember, when you’re speaking with a lawyer, you must be precise. If you ask the question generically, your lawyer will respond theoretically, and that won’t help you.
Do All Personal Injury Cases Settle After Deposition?
The answer to this question, as to whether all personal injury cases settle after deposition, is a resounding no.
If that were true, I wouldn’t have all the jury trial experience that I have.
100% of my deposition experience has been with personal injury cases for the past 10+ years. In each of those cases that went to trial, my client was deposed. Nonetheless, the case did not settle.
Statistically, every case has a 98%+ likelihood of settling. So you could argue that nearly all personal injury cases settle after deposition.
It would be fair to extract from that the reality that your case, too, will likely settle after a deposition.
How and when that will happen, I’ll get into below.
How Does a Deposition Lead to a Settlement?
This question – how does a deposition lead to settlement? – strikes at the heart of the issue. The answer is three-fold, so I’ll discuss each part in turn.
Deposition Can Lead to a Settlement if the Defendant Testifies Poorly
The best example of this I can think of is a commercial truck collision case I had. I noted the deposition of the company, and was cross-examining the company witness to death.
It got so bad that the witness was excused from the room, and the defense lawyer and I had a private conversation. Therein, he asked me to stop the deposition so we can immediately schedule formal settlement talks.
I agreed, and the case settled for $1,700,000 about a month later.
When I was packing up at the end of that deposition, after the the defense lawyer left the room, the court reporter who was recording the deposition told me that she hadn’t seen a beat down like that in a long time.
But remember, this can cut both ways, which takes me to the next section.
Deposition Can Lead to a Settlement if You Testify Well
If you perform well at your deposition, it can lead to a settlement in your favor.
Conversely, if you perform poorly in your deposition, it can lead to a bad settlement for you.
Here’s just a few measures of deposition performance that can lead to a settlement (in your favor):
◊ You do not contradict yourself
◊ What you say correlates to what’s in the medical records
◊ Your symptoms match your formal diagnosis (this is a big one)
◊ Your testimony does not conflict with other witness testimony
◊ You are humble
◊ You do not battle with the defense lawyer
That’s just low-bearing fruit, in terms of items on the list.
I study deposition technique a lot, and have a private checklists with pages of “do’s and don’ts” I share with clients to make sure they do well.
I trust your lawyer did the same for you, right??
Deposition Leads to a Settlement Because it Checks an Insurance Box
This one, I would argue, only applies in car collision cases.
Most insurance adjusters have a checklist that they live off of. In the car collision world, that checklist includes a deposition.
How do I know? Multiple in-house counsel (lawyers who are direct employees of an insurance company who do insurance defense for a living) disclosed this to me.
Those were all car collision cases / defense lawyers. I’ve never heard this apply outside of car collision cases.
This means the defense lawyer will not have permission from the insurance adjuster (who, by the way, is the one really pulling the strings, not the defense lawyer) to settle your case until that adjuster has her or his boxes all checked.
Your lawyer needs to sniff this out. There were times when after filing a lawsuit, when my client wanted to settle ASAP and after I figured this out, I would push to get my client deposed right out the gates.
Once the deposition is done, that magic box is checked, and real settlement discussions can happen.
Can a settlement be made at a deposition?
Yes, a settlement can be made at a deposition, but I would say that is almost impossible.
I spend days preparing for depositions, even in every day car collision cases. After doing all that preparation, when I show up the morning of the deposition, I’m going to take that depo unless the settlement offer is contingent on me not taking the deposition.
Again, I have a few hundred depositions under my belt and have never seen or heard of this happening.
I’m sure that there’s a case where a settlement was made at a deposition, but that case was an anomaly, or blue moon occurrence.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement After a Deposition ?
And that brings us full circle to where you started, with the original question of how long it will take you to get a settlement after a deposition.
The short answer, you now know, is it will depend on the strength of your case, your case type (car accident, medical malpractice, etc.), and how well you performed at your deposition.
If I mapped out the average location on a calendar (within a scheduling order’s discovery phase) of when the plaintiff is deposed in conjunction to the trial date, I can give you a decent range of how long it takes to get a settlement after a deposition.
For car collision cases, I would answer, as to how long it takes to get a settlement after a deposition, that it takes about four months. That would be for run of the mill vehicle collision cases.
In medical malpractice cases, I would suggest you do not ask how long it takes to get a settlement after the deposition. Instead, ask how long before the trial date will you get a settlement. On this point, I would say the answer would be an average of 3 months before or from your trial.
For clarity, I’m distinguishing between a “settlement offer” and a “final settlement”.
Settlement offers are all over the place. They are largely meaningless, however, as they are testers and feelers to see where the other side is in their desire to settle.
You most likely had a settlement offer before your deposition. However, you did not get a “final settlement,” which I proffer is synonymous with the non-lawyer use of the word “settlement.”
Summary of Deposition & Settlement Timing
To now know if your case will settle after a deposition, you must evaluate:
- Chances of Being Re-Deposed
- How Poorly Defendant Testified
- How Well You Testified
- What Type of Case You Have
Based on those factors, you can get a decent idea of how much longer you’ll need to wait after the deposition before your case settles.
Settling Your Case After a Deposition
If you’re reading this, I would hazard a guess that you recently were deposed.
I’m sure you did well, and I’m rooting for you to recover a substantial settlement now that you’ve completed your deposition.
May justice prevail in your case.
Reza Davani, Esq.
State Bar No.: 1212110211
Federal Bar No.: 30168
About the Author
This nursing home and medical malpractice article was written by Baltimore, Maryland nursing home attorney Reza Davani, Esquire. Mr. Davani received his Juris Doctor degree from a Tier 1 law school, the University of Maryland Francs King Carey School of Law. He received his first license to practice law from the State of Maryland’s Court of Appeals (MD State License No. 1212110211), and just four months later received a federal law license from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Federal License No. 30168).
Mr. Davani has been practicing law for over 10 years. He began practicing law by helping clients as a sanctioned student lawyer before receiving his law license, and second chaired his first jury trial in federal court before even graduating law school. He is a registered member of the Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ), the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Association for Justice (AAJ), and was formerly on the MAJ’s Legislative Leader’s Circle.
Mr. Davani has taken over 20 cases to trial in state and federal court, and favorably settled well over 100 cases for injured victims. He has personally helped his clients recover over $15,000,000 in personal injury, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse settlements and verdicts in Maryland and other states. He is dedicated to fighting for justice, and welcomes the opportunity to help you.
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