Your employer's workers' compensation carrier can be helpful and pay hurt workers the benefits they need. They can also refuse to help workers who need and deserve those benefits. When you have trouble with your claim for benefits, you are entitled to undergo an appeal process that involves several hearings and events. One of these events has you testifying, under oath, about the circumstances of your accident and the injury. Read on to find out what is expected of you when you testify at a workers' compensation deposition.
Not a Court Procedure
Depositions can be intimidating, but they are more casual than a courtroom appearance. You might want to consider a deposition more of an important meeting with only a few people present. Depositions are not open to the public, so expect to see only attorneys and a court reporter present when you are questioned.
Since state law dictates workers' compensation rights, the actual procedure for depositions can vary. For example, in some cases, a neutral hearing officer from the state's workers' compensation board presides over the deposition. They may be held at state offices or at a law firm.
What Should You be Prepared to Discuss?
When you were turned down for benefits, they had to give you a reason. The issues surrounding that reason will dictate the theme of your deposition.
For example, if you were turned down for benefits due to the results of a drug screen, the questioning will revolve around the issue of whether or not you were under the influence of a drug and whether or not it was prescribed for you. Additionally, did the way the drug affects you contribute to the accident?
Be ready to speak about the following general subjects in addition to the reason for the denial:
- Groundwork information – You can expect a 'warm-up" where you are asked general questions about your training, education, job, etc.
- Previous injuries – If you've had previous workers' compensation claim, even if for different reasons and with different employers, be prepared to discuss the claim. Additionally, if you have preexisting medical issues, be ready to speak about that.
- Accident information – Be ready to talk about the accident in detail. Review your paperwork and notes beforehand.
- Treatment information – Writing out a summary of your medical treatment so far might be helpful.
Most people who get to this point in their claim need additional support from a professional. Speak to a work injury lawyer about helping you get the benefits you need during the appeal process.