FAQs Regarding Depositions, Mediations & Settlements

Deposition FAQs

What happens in a deposition?

A deposition is a meeting that is scheduled during the discovery stage of a particular case. It is designed to assist opposing parties (and their counsel) with gathering information, statements and evidence on an incident or case. The materials that are revealed are employed to reach a settlement or to prepare for trial. Also, the statements provided during depositions are recorded through written material and videography.

Do I have to attend a deposition?

Yes. You will likely be subpoenaed by a court of law for a deposition. There are consequences for refusing to attend a deposition.

Will I need a lawyer for a deposition?

A Gainesville lawyer may not be required for a deposition, but legal representation will be beneficial to you. Depositions can be intimidating and the information that is revealed can have a significant impact on your case. With a lawyer’s assistance, you will be well-equipped for a deposition.

What type of questions should I expect to be asked during a deposition?

Since the purpose of a deposition is to discover details on a particular case, you should expect questions that address the incident at hand. You may also be asked questions that provide insight on your personality, past legal history, and character. Below are some of the most common questions posed during depositions:

  • What did you do on the date of the incident?
  • How did you respond to the incident?
  • Why did you respond to the incident this way?
  • What was going through your mind during, before, and after the incident?
  • Was anyone else present during the incident?
  • Have you ever been in a deposition before?
  • Have you ever been sued?

For a list of additional questions that may be asked during a deposition, visit our Gainesville law firm.

How should I prepare myself for a deposition?

Aside from mock depositions with an attorney at our law firm in Gainesville, FL, there is not a system for preparing yourself for a deposition. The best advice is to be honest. However, due to the nature of depositions and aggressive lawyers, you should keep the following considerations in mind before and during a deposition:

  • You have the right to speak to your lawyer before providing a response to a question.
  • You should always correct yourself if you make an error. You should also always correct the opposing party if your statements are misconstrued or misinterpreted.
  • Only bring documents that your attorney or the opposing counsel requests. Do not bring pre-written statements or attempt to memorize statements.
  • Act calmly! It is easy for individuals to experience discomfort or hurt feelings during depositions, but it is crucial that you behave in a polite and calm manner. Reckless behavior may harm your case.

Mediation FAQs

How is mediation defined?

Mediation is a process of resolving disputes between or among opposing parties.

What is the process of mediation?

The process of mediation involves consistent meetings with opposing parties and a mediator to discuss issues, weigh scenarios, negotiate, and ultimately reach an agreement or solution.

How does negotiation work?

Negotiation is an important factor in the mediation process. It allows opposing parties to seek a solution through gain and compromise.

Are there benefits to mediation?

Yes. Mediation is a private and relatively quick process. It allows opposing parties to be open, clear and honest with each other. The environment is such that individuals do not have to feel the pressure and tension that is often experienced during complex litigation inside of courtrooms. Lastly, mediation is likely to secure healthy relationships of opposing parties and encourage effective problem-solving tactics for future conflicts that may arise.

What role does the mediator serve?

The mediator is expected to facilitate the meetings among opposing parties. He/she is neutral on the topics and issues discussed. Once opposing parties are able to reach an agreement, the mediator may draft a document outlining such terms and conditions.

Does my case qualify for mediation?

Possibly. Mediation can only be used for civil proceedings, such as cases involving family and divorce, business disputes, construction law, and contract litigation. Our attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts can help you decide if mediation is an appropriate strategy for your case.

Does mediation require legal representation?

No. Mediation does not require legal representation. However, it may be wise to hire a lawyer for legal advice and assistance during the process.

How long will my case take if I select the mediation process?

It varies depending on the types of issues at hand. There are cases that require a few hours in one day. In other cases, it may take several weeks to a few months to settle your case. Most mediation sessions last for a few hours on a consistent basis.

Should I expect a fair process?

Yes. Mediation is designed to be a fair process. In fact, to avoid biased outcomes, mediators are required to be neutral. They may only intervene when a meeting becomes stagnant or unproductive, and even still, mediators are not allowed to give advice, support or an opinion to any of the parties.

If you worry that the outcome of your mediation process may be unfair, we encourage you to speak with our attorneys for legal advice and guidance before each mediation session. This will allow you to be well-informed of your rights and decrease the possibility of you being taken advantaged of.

Lawyers in Gainesville can recommend a mediator for your case. The most important aspect in a mediator that you should look for is experience with your unique issue. For example, if you desire to undergo the mediation process to handle a contract dispute, you will want a mediator that is well-versed in business law and contracts. This sort of credibility will enable you to trust your mediator.

How does mediation and arbitration compare and contrast?

Mediation and arbitration are alternative processes to dispute resolution. They do not involve traditional court proceedings. Instead, these processes call for private meetings among opposing parties and neutral, third-party professionals.

During mediation, issues are discussed in the presence of a mediator. The mediator helps to facilitate the conversation, but does not intervene in establishing a solution.

During arbitration, an arbitrator carefully considers the evidence, information and requests from opposing parties. After careful evaluation, the arbitrator makes a governing decision on the case. Unlike the mediator, the arbitrator has the power to act as a judge.

If you are uncertain which process is most appropriate for your situation, consider speaking to a Gainesville attorney at our firm.

Who selects or appoints mediators?

A mediator may be appointed or selected by a court of law or other agency.

Is it possible to postpone a mediation conference?

Yes. However, beware of constant and/or lengthy delays. It is best to handle mediation early. Issues are addressed more effectively this way.

Settlement FAQs

Is a settlement taxable?

No. Federal and state laws prevent your settlement from being taxed.

Will my settlement be exempt from bankruptcy?

It depends. In some cases, proceeds earned from your settlement package may be included and accounted as your overall net property when filing for bankruptcy. It is best to speak with an attorney before filing for bankruptcy to determine how your settlement funds will be affected by bankruptcy.

How much time will my case take to settle?

We cannot predict how long your case will take to settle, but we will be sure to notify you of updates throughout the process. The length of your case is largely contingent upon the opposing party’s cooperativeness.

When should I expect my settlement money?

It may take several weeks for you to receive your settlement money. It is important to understand that there is paperwork involved following the conclusion of a case. Furthermore, there are often unexpected delays that make distribution and receipt of your funds challenging.

For more information on legal processes such as depositions, the mediation process, and settlements, consider visiting the Gainesville law firm of Warner, Sechrest & Butts today. We offer free initial consultations to assist you.