A deposition is a recorded statement in which a witness answers various questions under oath, and it is common practice for injured workers to have their depositions taken during the worker’s compensation process. While the thought of being questioned by attorneys can be frightening for most people, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help alleviate the stress of the deposition.
What Will Happen
The deposition will probably take place in a conference room at a law firm with the following people present:
- Your attorney
- The lawyer taking your deposition
- A court reporter, whose job it is to make a written transcript of the deposition for use as evidence in the case.
Before the deposition begins, the court reporter will confirm that you understand your obligations to be truthful. Because you will be testifying under oath during your deposition, it is critical that you answer each question truthfully. During your deposition you will likely be asked a series of questions about the following topics:
- Background Information: Your name, date of birth, address, educational background, and work history. The lawyer may also ask if you have a criminal record or if you have filed any past workers compensation claims.
- Prior injuries: The lawyer may ask questions about any other prior injuries or accidents you may have had to try to prove that your injuries are not work-related.
- How the accident happened: While questions about how the accident happened can be limited, you may be asked detailed questions about your injuries if they happened over a period of time. Such injuries may include repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Treatment: You will be asked about your treatment history.
- Current limitations: These questions concern whether your injury has resulted in certain limitations. For example, if you are unable to operate certain machinery or complete specific tasks.
It is likely that you will also be asked how the accident and the injuries you suffered have changed your daily life. For example, this could include everyday activities such as difficulty cleaning up at home, doing laundry, gardening, shopping, driving a car, and riding in a car, standing too long or sitting too long.
Tips for Handling Your Deposition
As you prepare for your worker’s compensation deposition, here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Listen carefully before answering: Let the lawyer ask a complete question before you begin to answer.
- Give verbal responses: Always answer “yes” or “no”.
- Don’t volunteer information: Even though you may feel the need to offer information that you think is important, it is important to only answer the question that is being asked.
- Avoid guessing: If a question is confusing, instead of guessing, ask the lawyer to repeat the question or rephrase it.
- Don’t share privileged information: Do not answer questions about any confidential discussions you have had with your attorney.
- Maintain your composure: It’s important to be polite, calm, and clear when answering questions, which is important during the process. In the event that you feel yourself becoming agitated during the deposition, it’s ok to ask to take a break so that you can collect your thoughts.
Once the deposition is over, you will receive a transcript and have an opportunity to make corrections. Having an experienced worker’s compensation attorney advocating for you will ensure that the deposition runs smoothly. For example, during depositions, your attorney will be able to make objections to certain questions and make sure nothing happens that may be against your interests.
We want to help you during your worker’s compensation process. Ryan Zavodnick is an experienced and skilled Delaware worker’s comp attorney assisting injured employees with denials, so please call our office at (302) 364-6047 to discuss how we can help you today.