Depositions are statements that are sworn under oath about a claim for Atlanta workers’ compensation insurance. They are usually taken in person by an employer’s legal representative in the office’s conference room. A judge is not present for a deposition and the entire ordeal is relatively informal.
But, depositions should not be taken lightly. The employer’s lawyer will ask the employee a broad range of questions, such as:
- Current medical status
- What the worker remembers about how the workplace accident occurred
- How the worker gave notice to a supervisor
- What the worker told the physician about where they were hurt
- Any past problems the worker may have had with alcohol or drug abuse
- Any past injuries that impacted the same part of the body where the worker was injured at work
- If the worker has filed any previous work injury claims
- If the worker has a criminal history
- If the employee has had previous surgeries
- If the employee has served in the military
- The employee’s personal activities
- If the worker has additional sources of income
- What the worker’s physical abilities are after the accident
- If the worker has any lasting pain
The employer’s lawyer can ask you almost anything. The deposition questions make up part of the discovery process as required by Georgia law. Both sides in a workers’ compensation claim dispute can ask anything to an opposing witness, including intrusive questions.
It is important to answer all the questions honestly. If the employee is unsure of an answer, they should say that they are not sure instead of guessing an answer. A guess is still a sworn statement, and it could be used against the employee if it is inaccurate or untrue.
Why Does Counsel Use Depositions in an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Claim?
An employers’ Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer typically uses depositions for two core reasons:
Firstly, they want to hear and see how the employee testifies. They will take note of whether or not the worker speaks with clear recollection and clarity, whether or not a worker gets confused with details, how a worker reacts when challenged, and if the employee comes across as believable.
Secondly, the legal team wants to get the employee on the record regarding statements about the workplace injury, the worker’s medical treatment, and the worker’s past. If the employee later changes the story, the opposing counsel may use the deposition testimony to cross examine the employee and to attempt to show the judge that the employee is untruthful and unbelievable.
How Can an Employee Prepare for a Deposition?
A deposition may be far less intimidating if the worker prepares for it properly. The worker knows better than anyone what happened when they were injured, their medical history, and how their current medical treatment may be progressing.
Preparation is the key to a successful deposition. The employee and the employee’s lawyer should take the time to practice answering the questions that the opposing counsel are most likely to ask in an effort to ensure that the worker will feel at ease during the actual testimony. Further, practice will ensure that the employee eliminates meaningless statements, such as saying that the worker cannot lift very much. Practice also helps the employee avoid mistakes and surprises during the deposition.
It is normal for an employee to be nervous when facing questions from their employer’s legal counsel. That is why your Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney will help you reduce your stress by practicing the questions and answers ahead of time. It is important to tell the truth and also answer questions directly and clearly. If you do not know the answer to a particular question, it is okay to just say that you do not know the answer.
Getting the Best Result from a Deposition
You should be aware that the opposing counsel does not take the deposition to help your case. Rather, the employer’s lawyer is looking for inaccuracies and inconsistencies in a worker’s story. But, when an employee is properly prepared and can demonstrate that they can answer opposing counsel’s questions with conviction, it is more likely that the settlement value will go up for the employee. Often, the deciding factor in a contested Atlanta workers’ compensation case has to do with the worker’s credibility, and with the right preparation, any worker can do well in a deposition.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind at the Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Deposition
Employees must remember that they are compelled to testify under oath at the deposition. That means that they are both ethically and legally obligated to tell the truth. Every question must be answered to the best of your knowledge. Before a question begins, the court report will swear you in and you will then verify that everything you are about to say is the truth.
Next, the lawyer asking the questions will explain the deposition process to you. Your employer’s lawyer will explain the role of the court reporter as well as the importance of answering the questions verbally and clearly. Listen carefully to the rules as the legal counsel will be quick to remind you should you violate the rules.
Finally, try to keep the following points in mind when during your Atlanta workers’ compensation deposition:
- Listen carefully and wait to answer the questions
- Never volunteer information. Only ever answer the questions that are asked.
- Never speculate or guess an answer. If you do not know an answer, just tell the counsel that
- Try your best to stay cool under pressure
- Never share information about discussions you have had with your lawyer as those are confidential conversations
Talk to an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
Employees whose Atlanta workers’ compensation claims are in dispute should seek the guidance of dedicated attorneys for assistance with the deposition process. Talk to the team at John B. Jackson about your disputed claim and the best way for you to move forward. Book a consultation today.