You are the most valuable source of information in your workers’ comp case. After all, you know what caused the injury, where you were hurt, and how your recovery has been progressing. That also means that you will likely have to be a very active participant in your workers’ comp case, which includes participating in a deposition and testifying at your hearing.
There is practically an art form for depositions, and your attorney will prepare you so that you avoid common traps that the insurance company may lay for you. Having your deposition taken can be nerve-wracking, but knowing what to expect and being prepared can go a long way.
What to Expect at Your Deposition: Logistics
Knowing what the opposing attorney will ask you can help you remain calm, cool, and collected during your deposition. Getting a feel for the logistics of the deposition can help as well.
Your workers’ comp deposition will likely take place in an attorney’s office. Sometimes it is located at your attorney’s office, but it could also be at the opposing attorney’s office as well. Your lawyer and the opposing lawyer will be there, and a court reporter will be there as well.
The court reporter quickly types everything that you and each attorney say word-for-word. This is important to keep in mind. Everything you say will be recorded and can potentially be used at your workers’ comp hearing. In fact, the transcript from your deposition is likely to become evidence at your hearing.
Important Guidelines to Keep in Mind at Your Workers’ Comp Deposition
You are testifying under oath. That means that you are legally and ethically obligated to tell the truth. You should answer every question to the best of your knowledge, without guessing. Before any questioning starts, the court reporter will “swear” you in, and you will verify that everything you are about to say is the truth.
Then, the attorney asking you questions will likely explain the deposition process to you. He or she will explain the role of the court reporter, and the importance to answer everything verbally (no head nodding or “uh huhs”). Listen carefully to these rules because you will be reminded if you violate them.
Keep in mind the following general guidelines as well.
- Listen and wait before answering
- Do not volunteer information (only answer the question that was asked)
- Do not guess or speculate (if you do not know an answer to a question, just tell the attorney that!)
- Do not share information about conversations you have had with your lawyer—these are confidential
- Always keep your cool
Your Deposition Testimony Topics
Once the attorney covers the ground rules, he or she will start to get into the merits of your case. That includes asking you questions about:
- Your education
- Your prior work history
- Your job duties
- Your family situation
- Hobbies and interests
- Details about the accident
- Your prior related injuries or health
- Treatment following the accident
- Current limitations because of the accident
Most workers’ comp depositions will not stray far from the list of topics above. However, there are situations where the attorney may ask you something strange or irrelevant. Your attorney will be right there by your side to object to inappropriate questions. In fact, he or she will also object to questions that are designed to confuse or trick you as well. Your workers’ comp attorney is a trusted ally at your deposition—do not head in alone! Contact Jim Glaser Law to have your case reviewed for free.