My Workers Comp deposition. What should I expect?
In most workers’ compensation cases where the Petition to Controvert has been filed, the Employer and its Insurance Carrier will ask to take the deposition of the Claimant (the injured worker). Depositions are simply a question and answer session that take place while sitting around a table in your attorney’s office. They are usually very relaxed and conversational, but they are under oath, so the truth is paramount. The attorney for the Employer and Carrier just needs to find out certain information relevant to your case so that they can report back to the insurance adjuster. It is one thing for your attorney to tell them what happened to you, it’s another thing to hear it in your own words.
The defense attorney will ask you questions about your work injury and the medical treatment that you have received as a result of your injury. The attorney will usually also ask questions about education, job history, and past medical history. The attorney is not usually out to get you or trick you; they are just looking to get more information so they can properly evaluate your case for settlement or trial. However, your attorney should be with you the entire time, to protect your interests and object to any improper question if necessary. If you do not have an attorney before your deposition is set, you should seriously consider getting one.
The most important rule in a deposition is: Be honest. These question and answer sessions usually last about an hour or two, but they are normally a big step in your case. You should be honest about what happened at work. You should be honest about the pain you were and are in. And you should be honest about the things you could do before your injury that you cannot do so well now. Do not exaggerate. Do not try to hide from things about your case that you think are bad for you. It is much easier to deal with bad facts than it is to deal with lying under oath.
If you do not know the answer to a question, you can say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” These are perfectly fine answers. Do not feel like you have to tell the defense lawyer your whole life story. This is not your “day in court.” Just answer the questions that the defense lawyer has for you politely and succinctly.