If you were injured in a work-related accident and are seeking workers’ compensation, it’s likely you will be called in to give a recorded statement under oath. This type of question-and-answer session is called a deposition, and it’s a routine procedure in many workers’ compensation cases.
Does the idea of being grilled by a lawyer make your stomach turn? If you’ve never been deposed before, the very thought of it is probably enough to make you think twice about fighting for the benefits you desperately need.
Fortunately, workers’ compensation depositions are rarely as dramatic as the events you see on courtroom drama TV shows. More often than not, the attorney representing your employer’s insurer will be professional and courteous, not confrontational and accusatory. In any case, it can provide a great deal of comfort to have your own lawyer present at your deposition to make sure things stay civil and to protect your interests.
If you’re preparing for a workers’ compensation case deposition, call us at Gerald Brody & Associates. During your free, initial consultation, we’ll speak to you in plain terms and give you an idea of what to expect at your deposition, including the points below.
What happens at a deposition?
When you arrive at your workers’ compensation case deposition, you can expect at least a handful of people to be in the room. Aside from you and your lawyer, you’ll meet with the attorney taking your deposition as well as a court reporter. This person will make a written transcript of your deposition to use as evidence for the case.
First, the court reporter will have you raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth. You will be under the same oath you take in court, even though a judge won’t be present. Next, the lawyer taking your deposition will give a brief overview of the deposition process and guidelines, followed by a series of questions related to your case.
At your deposition, you should be prepared to answer questions about the following topics truthfully and to the best of your knowledge:
- Your background information including educational, work, and criminal history. Also be prepared to disclose any prior workers’ compensation claims.
- Prior accidents or preexisting conditions that may have caused your injuries that aren’t work-related.
- How the work-related accident happened, especially if your injuries happened over a period of time.
- The detailed history of your treatment from initial doctor visits to subsequent follow-ups.
- Specifics about any current limitations you still have as a result of your work-related injury.
As you answer the lawyer’s questions, there are a few things you can do to make sure your claim is portrayed in the most accurate light.
Always give verbal responses. Saying, “yes” or “no” verses shaking your head or saying “uh-huh” will help the court reporter accurately type your responses.
Don’t answer a question you don’t understand. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask the lawyer to rephrase the question in a way that’s easier for you to comprehend.
Don’t volunteer information. You may feel nervous and want to give long-winded answers, but it’s important to only answer the question being asked.
After the deposition you will have an opportunity to review the written transcript and make corrections. Remember, though, that you are under oath when you answer the lawyer’s questions. You should give your best and most accurate testimony at the time of the deposition to show yourself as a credible witness.
You don’t have to do this alone
While walking into a lawyer’s office and answering questions under oath can seem intimidating, being prepared and knowing what to expect can make the experience much less stressful. And remember, you don’t have to do this alone.
If you’re preparing for your workers’ compensation case, call us at Gerald Brody & Associates. Our attorneys have guided hundreds of injured workers through the deposition process, and would be honored to provide you with the same support.