A workers’ compensation deposition is essentially a testimony spoken while under oath that typically happens in a lawyer’s office. Depositions only occur in litigated cases, which is when there’s pushback from an insurer on paying out benefits to an injured employee. As the injured employee, you will be responsible for answering questions and testifying about your injury while you’re under oath. It’s important to know what to expect during a deposition, as it may help to provide some comfort.
Legal Responsibilities During Workers’ Compensation Deposition
Workers’ compensation depositions are very routine. An opposing lawyer can’t call up an injured worker and ask them about your personal life and injury, due to the rules and responsibilities that govern a lawyer’s profession prohibit them from doing so. While opposing lawyers aren’t allowed to reach out to the injured party before a deposition, the law allows the opposing lawyer a one-time opportunity to talk to the injured worker. In a workers’ compensation case, this is what a deposition is for.
During a deposition, there’s a controlled conversation that takes place in the lawyer’s office. In addition to you and a legal team, there’s a court reporter present in the room. The court reporter is responsible for writing down the conversation between all of the involved parties during a deposition. This is why it’s vital to speak clearly and use words, rather than gestures, to communicate what happened during your injury.
Pinning the Witness Down
While a deposition is a formal conversation, the lawyer will ask about your education background, vocational background, and your medical background. The lawyer has a responsibility to find out facts about your life before the injury, what happened when you were injured and how you reacted after you were hurt.
Six months later, you’ll provide another testimony of the events surrounding your injury in court. The lawyer you gave your deposition to will compare the testimony you’ve given in court compared to the facts you shared in your deposition. The lawyer will point out inconsistencies in your testimonies to pin you down as a witness.
Identifying the Witness Type During a Deposition
During a deposition, the lawyer tries to identify what type of person you are. They’re looking to see if you’re smart, well-spoken, if you have a temper to try to get a sense of who you are as a witness. They’re looking to determine what type of impression you’ll make in front of a judge. Keep in mind, the lawyer can’t make a judgment on your case. Only the judge you’re facing in a courtroom can do that.
As you’re going through the deposition, keep in the back of your mind that the lawyer’s treatment of you and opinion of you aren’t solidifying facts in your case. What matters is if you’re prepared for the deposition, you’re truthful while you’re speaking during the deposition, and you understand the questions you’re being asked. You should always seek out additional clarification if you don’t understand questions you’re being asked during a deposition. Stick to your story and the truth of what happened surrounding the injury.
Being Prepared for a Workers’ Compensation Deposition
You’re the expert on your injury. While you may not be a medical professional, you experienced the pain and loss that occurred as a result of your injury. A deposition in a workers’ compensation case shouldn’t take a long time to complete, but your lawyer will guide you to help you get a better understanding of what to expect when it’s time to complete the deposition.
If you need help preparing for a workers’ compensation deposition, reach out to Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law today for experienced guidance.