If you were injured on the job and must go to court because your employer is contesting your workers’ compensation claim, you most likely will have your deposition taken by the attorney for the insurance carrier. How well you handle your deposition could have a significant impact on the amount of your settlement. Knowing what to expect and being prepared can better ensure a successful deposition that helps your case.
Prepare Answers to These Deposition Questions
Your deposition will likely be taken by the insurance company’s attorney, at his office. This attorney, your attorney, and a court reporter will be present, and the insurance adjuster could also be there. The court reporter will transcribe your answers to the attorney’s questions and will prepare a written transcript of the deposition.
You will be testifying under oath at your deposition in the same way you testify at your workers’ comp trial in a courtroom. This means you must answer all of the attorney’s questions truthfully. Your answers can later be used against you in a trial or other court proceedings.
The attorney for the insurance company may start by explaining how the deposition process works and giving you some general guidelines. While this attorney may seem nice, be aware that his goal is to get you to make statements that can hurt your case at trial or reduce your settlement. You most likely will be asked for the following information:
- Background information. This will include your name, address, date of birth, family situation, education, and work history. You could also be questioned about any criminal background and any past workers’ compensation claims or other claims you filed.
- Prior injuries. The attorney will ask you about prior injuries you have experienced and how they were caused. The attorney probably will have already obtained computerized medical records regarding any injuries reported to an insurance company or HMO, as well as the medical records for your current injury. He is trying to find out if something else caused your injuries other than your workplace accident.
- How the accident happened. Because workers’ compensation is no-fault in New Jersey, the attorney may not ask you too many questions about the accident. However, he will want to know how it occurred and could want details if your injury happened over time—such as with a repetitive stress injury.
- Treatment. You should expect to testify in detail about all of your treatments since you were hurt and the names of all the doctors who have treated you.
- Current disability. The attorney will ask you questions about how your injury limits your activities. He will want to know how it affects your ability to perform work duties and your activities in your day-to-day life. Be prepared to describe what your typical day is like.
- Psychological injuries. If you are claiming that your injury is psychological or that it caused you to become depressed, you should expect the attorney to ask you more personal questions. This can include questions about your marriage, your children, whether you or your children have ever taken drugs, and if you have been treated for psychological problems or depression in the past.
Other General Guidelines to Follow
There are certain guidelines you will want to follow to help your deposition go smoothly. These include the following:
- Dress appropriately. While a deposition is not a court proceeding, you want to dress professionally. A pair of dress pants with a nice shirt is fine. Do not wear sweats, workout clothes, or blue jeans and a t-shirt.
- Answer verbally. The court reporter can only record verbal responses, so do not nod or answer “uh-huh” in response to a question.
- Take a break. If you need to go to the restroom, get a drink of water, or ask your attorney a question, ask to take a break.
Were you injured in a workplace accident and your employer is denying your right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits? The law firm of MFR has been helping workers for over 20 years fight for the workers’ comp benefits they deserve. Check out my case results, and start an online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.