Deposition Mistakes In Worker’s Compensation Cases
Ryan Zavodnick | March 27, 2023 | Workers' Compensation
Being injured at work generally means filing a workers’ compensation claim. State law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that provides injured workers with medical care for their work injuries at no cost to the employee. Additionally, an injured employee can receive wage benefits if their work-related injury prevents them from working. The workers’ comp benefits you receive depend on your injuries and the facts of your case.
Even though receiving workers’ compensation benefits should be straightforward, some workers are denied benefits. A Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer can help you appeal a workers’ comp denial to help you get the benefits you deserve.
You might be required to give a deposition during the workers’ compensation case. Knowing more about a workers’ comp deposition and the common errors people make during a deposition can help you avoid mistakes.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Deposition in a Philadelphia Workers’ Comp Case?
Depositions are testimony provided outside of court. A court reporter takes the testimony after you are placed under oath. Therefore, your testimony at a deposition could be used to impeach you in court if you change your testimony.
The workers’ compensation insurance company might schedule a workers’ comp deposition seeking information about the following:
- Your medical history, education, and job history
- The circumstances and factors that lead to your workplace injury
- More information about your medical treatment
- Details about your recovery
- Prior accidents, injuries, and illnesses
- More information about the symptoms and restrictions you reported to your doctors
- How your injury prevents you from performing the specific duties associated with your job
If your workers’ comp claim is disputed, you will likely be required to attend a deposition and testify under oath. Knowing the common mistakes people make at workers’ compensation depositions could help you avoid making the same errors yourself.
Common Deposition Mistakes in a Philadelphia Workers’ Comp Case
Many people are nervous about appearing and testifying at a deposition. However, the unknown is usually worse than what takes place. Try to stay calm and focus on the questions and your answers.
The opposing attorney asks you a series of questions. You must answer the questions. Your attorney cannot give you legal advice or tell you how to answer the questions.
Mistakes people make during their workers’ comp deposition include:
Failing to Tell the Truth
You are under oath at a workers’ compensation deposition. Therefore, you are required to tell the truth.
If you lie during the deposition, you could be impeached in court. Furthermore, jurors are less likely to believe other parts of your testimony if you lie about something.
Answering Questions That Were Not Asked
Do not provide more information than the attorneys ask for during the deposition. In other words, answer the question truthfully and stop talking. Avoid the urge to ramble and add information to your answer that was not requested.
Be cautious of open-ended questions that encourage you to expand your answer. The attorney might be “fishing” for information they do not know yet.
Guessing or Estimating Information
Never guess or estimate when answering deposition questions unless your attorney says it is okay. If you do not know the exact answer to a question, it is better to say that you do not know. Guessing or estimating facts could be interpreted as lying if you are incorrect.
Using Absolutes if They Do Not Apply
It is best to avoid using absolutes, such as never, always, under no circumstances, and absolutely. Absolutes are rare. Most situations have exceptions. Instead, you could say “most of the time” or “usually” if you must quantify a response.
Responding to Questions You Do Not Understand
You should never respond to a question unless you understand precisely what the attorney is asking for in the response. Instead, ask the attorney to clarify the question or ask the question differently.
Exaggerating Your Injuries, Symptoms, or Limitations
Doctors know when you are exaggerating your symptoms and limitations after an injury. If you attempt to make your injury sound worse during a deposition, the insurance company might request an independent medical examination (IME).
A medical examiner performs an IME to verify your injuries and impairments. The IME might contradict your testimony if you exaggerated your injuries during the workers’ comp deposition. If so, you could appear untrustworthy, causing people to believe you are faking your work injury.
Not Hiring a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Before a Workers’ Comp Deposition
If you do not have a lawyer and are scheduled to appear at a workers’ comp deposition, you should talk to a Philadelphia workers’ comp attorney immediately. Having legal counsel before and during the deposition protects your rights.
Your attorney prepares you for the deposition. They tell you what to expect at a deposition and the types of questions the workers’ comp insurance attorney might ask.
If you do not receive workers’ comp benefits after a workplace accident, you can benefit from talking with a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer during a free consultation.
Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Law Firm in Philadelphia Today To Get Help With Your Case
To learn more and get the help you deserve, call Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online.
You can also visit our law firm at 123 S Broad St #1220, Philadelphia, PA 19109.