A deposition is an informal question and answer session that typically takes place outside of the courtroom at one of the attorneys’ offices. It is taken under oath and there is a court reporter present, who records everything that is said by both the person being deposed and the attorneys present. A deposition is used to gather information as a part of the discovery process. In the context of a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker typically must submit to a deposition requested by the attorney representing the employer/insurer. During the deposition, all parties may question the witness; however, lawyers are not allowed to coach their clients’ testimony. Additionally, attorneys are limited in their ability to object during discovery depositions, and will typically step in only when a question is confusing, inappropriate, or completely outside the scope of the matter being litigated.
As an injured employee in a workers’ compensation deposition, there are a few things that you should expect to be asked by opposing counsel (i.e., the attorney for your employer and its insurance company). During every deposition I’ve attended my client (i.e., the injured worker) has been asked about his or her past and present health care treatment. This involves reviewing all of the facilities you’ve been treated at for your work injury, determining what types of treatment you’ve undergone, discussing your present physical restrictions and symptoms, and determining what has been recommended for future treatment. In addition to this, most defense attorneys will ask an injured worker about any other injuries they’ve sustained or conditions they’ve developed while doing work for the present employer and past employers. They’ll ask about injuries sustained in car accidents, major surgeries, chronic health issues, and about recreational sports that may have caused injuries.
Moreover, the defense attorney will ask about your employment history. He or she will typically start with any jobs you had in high school and work their way through each job until they’ve reached your present-day employment. For each employer, they will typically review the start and end dates, the type of work performed, why you left the position, whether any injuries were sustained, and whether any workers’ compensation claims were filed. Additionally, there are a few questions asked that can be somewhat uncomfortable. Among these questions are whether you’ve been convicted of a felony in the last ten years; whether you’ve had any mental health treatment, including treatment for drug and alcohol dependency; and whether you’ve experienced any fluctuations in your weight.
The most important thing to remember when having your deposition taken is that opposing counsel is evaluating you as a witness throughout the deposition. This is important because part of opposing counsel’s evaluation of your claim rests on whether you make a good witness on your own behalf. This is a factor that affects whether the case will ultimately go to hearing and how much money will be offered for settlement. It doesn’t matter that you don’t answer every question perfectly. Depositions are stressful and this stress can cause you to forget even basic information such as your spouse’s name or your children’s ages; however, if you come across as an honest, straightforward witness on your own behalf, this is considered a “win” for a deposition.
If you will be attending a deposition or have questions on the deposition process, contact Meuser Law Office, P.A. today. Our knowledgeable attorneys will help you through the deposition process and make sure you know what to expect. A deposition can be a stressful part of the workers’ compensation claim process and our attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. make sure our clients are prepared, know what to expect, and keep that stress to a minimum.