successful deposition in workers' compensation

What You Need to Know Before Giving a Successful Deposition in a Workers’ Compensation Case

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What is a Workers’ Compensation Deposition?

A workers’ compensation deposition is a meeting that generally takes place in a conference room where the attorney for the employer/insurer asks you questions under oath about your accident and your past medical history. A court reporter will be present to record your testimony. The testimony will then be transcribed and printed in booklet form.

What is the purpose of a deposition?

The purpose of a deposition is to allow the defense attorney to assess your credibility and decide what kind of witness you would make in court. A deposition is also designed to lock in your testimony so that what you say at the deposition needs to be the same as what your testimony will be in court. If your testimony in court is different, the defense attorney will use the deposition transcript to impeach or contradict you to get the Judge to think that you are not telling the truth.

What Kind of Questions Can I Expect During the Deposition?

During your deposition, you can expect the attorney for the insurance company to ask a number of questions such as: where you have lived, whether you are married, your educational background, past work history, your hobbies, any sports you participate in, past or current lawsuits such as divorces, bankruptcies, prior workers’ compensation cases, personal injury cases, past medical history, whether you have any criminal record, whether you have a history of psychiatric or psychological treatment, whether you have used or currently use drugs or alcohol, whether you have been involved in any auto accidents or slip and falls, details of how your work-related accident occurred, whether there were any witnesses to your accident and the medical treatment you have been receiving since your injury. You will also be asked to list all body parts that were injured in your on-the-job accident.

How long does a deposition take?

A deposition typically takes a few hours. The more complicated your medical or work history, the longer the deposition can take. If you have had several previous workers’ compensation cases, the deposition may take longer because the attorney will ask about each and every one of these cases. It is a good idea to be well-rested before your deposition and not take any medication that will make you drowsy or confused.

How should I prepare for my deposition?

To make sure you are ready for the deposition you will meet with your attorney beforehand to review your testimony in detail and discuss the questions he or she anticipates you will be asked and your potential answers. You will also go over your medical records with your attorney so that you know how to properly answer questions regarding any particular areas of concern.

How Should I Act During my deposition?

You want to be as truthful, polite, calm, and as respectful as possible. Answer questions clearly. If you do not understand a question, it is completely appropriate to ask the defense attorney to repeat or rephrase the question. You should not exaggerate. Your answers should be short and to the point. “Yes” or “no” answers are ideal.  If the attorney needs more detail, he or she will ask you for it. Don’t spoon-feed the attorney with extra information. It is better to use the word approximately than to guess about anything such as dates when you saw your doctor or guess about how much objects weighed on your job if you suffered a lifting injury.

Successful deposition testimony can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case! Many times, after a successful deposition, a workers’ compensation case does not go to court. The case may settle or the case may be accepted as compensable which means that the insurance company will start paying your income benefits and provide you with medical treatment for your injuries.