Am I required to go forward with a deposition if I am offering to settle a case? (personal injury)

Asked over 1 year ago - Kennesaw, GA

I am in a suit against my car ins. company involving my neck injury in a car accident . I am ill, recovering from a recent operation and ongoing medical problems, pregnant (high risk) and unemployed. I cannot afford costs associated with ongoing discovery, etc.. and I also don't feel that I'm physically able to go through with a depo. any time soon. I would really like to settle the case now. I was told by counsel that I may still have to go forward with the depo. anyway because opposing outside counsel will more than likely want to "pad their bills" before settling. This seems unethical to me and I don't feel that I should be responsible for paying for any unnecessary costs. Also, my attorney is ignoring my email requests for a written settlement update.

Attorney answers (15)

  1. Joel Max Grist Jr.

    Contributor Level 3

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A settlement only happens when you and your opponent AGREE to an amount and other terms. In the meantime, you have a lawsuit filed and are preparing for trial unless and until the parties agree to a settlement. This means both sides must prepare for trial. Unless a settlement is reached first, or postponed by agreement, the deposition should go forward.
    Regarding costs - as the opposing attorney is taking your deposition, there does not have to be any costs to you. Your attorney is not required to buy a copy of the transcript right away. Your attorney may continue to try to settle the case without buying a copy of the transcript. If the case settles before trial, the expense will have been saved. But if the case goes to trial, your attorney may need a copy to prepare properly.
    I suggest you call your attorney's office and speak with his or her assistant about a status update.

  2. Glenn Tadaomi Honda Jr.

    Contributor Level 11

    10

    Lawyers agree

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . I agree with the other posters, you need to talk to your attorney. Im sorry to hear about your physical problems.Are you paying your discovery costs yourself?Also, this is a first party case right? (you are suing your own insurance company). When you talk to your attorney, and I really encourage that you do so, ask if him if you can postpone your deposition until you are more physically able to participate (although you really should try to finish this as soon as you are able). If the insurance company will not agree to postpone, you could talk about a protective order--where the judge hears both sides and decides if you can have extra time. My experience with defense counsel, however, is that they are generally so busy that they do not mind a continuance or two. good luck!

  3. David B Pittman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to have a meeting with your lawyer to discuss. If she or he won't, you need to demand a meeting. That's the only person who can determine this fir you.

  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your attorney is in the best position to update you with respect to your case.

  5. Darrell Brinnett Reynolds Sr.

    Contributor Level 17

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes you are. Just because you want to settle the case does not mean that the other side want to accept your offer for settlement.

    Darrell B. Reynolds,
    Attorney and Counselor at Law
    2385 Lawrenceville Highway, Ste D
    Decatur, Ga. 30033
    404-636-6616

  6. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to talk with your lawyer ASAP, not us.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more
  7. Jason Todd Studinski

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. A settlement does not occur until both parties agree. If you are physically unable to attend due to illness or other issues, that may be another story. It sounds like you have an attorney. I would suggest you consult with him/her. Good luck.

  8. Timothy Leo Bowden

    Contributor Level 14

    6

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . depending on the insurance company, that is a possibility. however, if there was an offer on the table, then you can demand that the offer be accepted.

  9. L. Ty Wilson

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You have two issues, the case and your attorney.

    First your attorney. You need to schedule an appointment and go meet with your attorney. Most attorneys are extremely busy, therefore you have to schedule a time for their undivided attention. Keep in mind most attorneys do not have time to meet or schedule multiple phone conferences in a day so gather your thoughts and have all of your questions prepared and ready to go.

    As far as your case goes, remember you brought this case forward. NO ONE has to settle. I do not know any facts of your case, that is something you will need to discuss with your attorney. However, if you obtain a medical excuse for why you can not sit down and answer questions in a deposition I am sure the matter can be continued. Remember the other attorney (opposing counsel) is under a duty to obtain information and secure what your testimony will be in a trial should that matter go that far. There are no guarantees you are going to accept the offer they give you. So they need to finish discovery. You want out you can always dismiss your lawsuit.

    Good luck.
    Ty

    This response is for general information only, no attorney client privilege has been established by this communication.
  10. Brian F. Davis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 6

    4

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . If you're lawyer is ignoring your requests, then you should consider finding another attorney. This is your case. If you want your lawyer to try and settle your case, then, barring some unknown issue, that is what your attorney should be working toward. One option would be to see if your treating OB-GYN would write a letter stating that you are not physically able, at this time, to give a deposition. Such a letter could buy you some time and might allow your attorney to get your case resolved. In some cases, it does seem that opposing counsel is "working the file," so to speak, but the defense lawyer must justify any recommendation that they make for settlement to the insurance adjuster or claims handler. Good luck.

  11. Stacy E Pepper

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Get in touch with your attorney. Don't rely on just emails, call or set up an appointment at the firm.

    Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in... more
  12. Martin Evan Weinberg

    Contributor Level 10

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally yes if the case is ongoing you would have to take a deposition. There are many points in a case where you can settle. The value of your case can hinge on what happens at the deposition. As all the others have suggested, I would schedule a meeting with your attorney immediately and if he does not honor that request then you need to search for an attorney who is more accessible. Many lawyers are very reluctant to answer questions from clients on email.

    No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be provides is greater than the quality of legal... more
  13. Thomas D. Boley

    Contributor Level 14

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you or your lawyer have received notice of this deposition and a date has been set in good faith, you could be subject to discovery sanctions if you do not attend. It is in your best interest to attend and go through the entire deposition unless the settlement paperwork is signed and paid prior to the deposition or your lawyer agrees with the other side to postpone the deposition.

  14. Larry Van Roberts

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, the defense is allowed to depose you whether or not you offer to settle the case. If you are ill and unable to go forward with the lawsuit, your attorney may file a motion to stay the lawsuut until you are healthy to proceed. Whether or not the judge grants such a motion remains to be seen. Also, you may be entitled to take a voluntary dismissal without prejudice. This would allow you to refile the case within a certain period of time following the dismissal. I am not licensed in Georgia, so immediately contact a local personal injury attorney in your state. Good luck!

    This response is given solely as a general response to the question and does not create an attorney / client... more
  15. Sean P. Wickens

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . If you are in suit, then the Court requires the parties to cooperate with investigation/discovery including depositions. Refusing to cooperate could lead to sanctions including dismissal of your claim. You need to talk to your attorney about this.

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