Depositions in workers’ compensation cases are sworn statements taken by an employment lawyer to determine if an injured employee should receive benefits. The deposition is typically conducted by the employer’s insurance company or their attorney, and can play a significant role in determining the outcome of a workers’ compensation claim:
- For the injured worker, a deposition can help to strengthen their case and ensure that they receive fair compensation for the injuries they sustained while on the job
- For the employer’s insurance company, a deposition can help to determine the extent of their liability and the amount of compensation that may be owed to the injured worker
During the deposition, the injured worker is asked questions about the circumstances surrounding their injury, the extent of their injuries, and the impact these injuries have on their life.
If you are in the throes of a worker’s comp case, and recently found out you were going to be deposed, here’s everything our employment lawyers in West Palm Beach want you to know.
Who Can Be Deposed in a Workers’ Comp Case?
In workers’ comp matters, who is deposed is often contingent upon the details of a given case. An employer, employee and witnesses can all be deposed by an employment lawyer in West Palm Beach.
Employers are typically deposed when they are accused of not providing their employees with adequate safety measures or if they have failed to follow proper protocol regarding workplace injuries. During the deposition, employers:
- Must demonstrate that their behavior was legitimate and in accordance with the law
- Can expect to be asked questions about their conduct, as well as applicable regulations concerning workplace safety
An employee may be questioned in the event of a dispute regarding if an injury was sustained while on-the-job or due to their own personal negligence. Information sought includes:
- Details before and after the accident occurred
- Their past medical history, to rule out pre-existing conditions
Outside of this, medical professionals and subject matter experts may also be deposed, as well as witnesses to the accident itself. Witnesses are expected to give truthful answers during their deposition and failure to do so may result in perjury charges should any lies be discovered through further investigation.
What Questions Are Asked During a Workers’ Comp Deposition?
When it comes to workers’ comp depositions, the questions asked by a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer will vary depending on the case. Generally speaking, however, questions will pertain to:
- Details surrounding the injury’s origin, as well as treatment received
- The financial losses that have occurred because of it
- Safety protocols in the workplace and/or whether proper equipment was provided for tasks that had been performed
The attorney may also ask you about your job duties before and after the accident, as well as any changes in job responsibilities due to physical limitations caused by the injuries you’ve sustained. It is important that you answer all questions truthfully during your deposition since lying could lead to serious consequences down the line.
The employment lawyers West Palm Beach who are representing you will likely go over your rights prior to your deposition so that you understand what types of questions are appropriate and which should not be answered without consulting with them first. They may also discuss strategies for answering certain types of questions if they arise during your testimony, such as how best to explain complex situations or complicated injuries. Additionally, they can help prepare you mentally by going over potential topics beforehand so there are no surprises during questioning time. This type of preparation will be critical to your case.
It’s important to note that during the deposition, certain materials may be introduced that you will be asked to discuss, including:
- Medical records
- Wage statements
- Insurance forms
- Contracts and emails between parties
- Photographs taken at the scene of the accident
How to Answer Questions in a Workers’ Comp Deposition
When faced with a workers’ comp deposition, it is important to understand the process and know how to answer the questions that are presented to you.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Remain calm and composed no matter what type of question is asked of you
- Think before you speak
- Speak clearly so everyone in attendance can hear what is being said without having to ask for clarification multiple times throughout the session
- Answer clearly using words instead of nodding your head or shaking it from side to side
- Answer only those questions which pertain directly to your case
- If you don’t understand the question, ask someone to clarify it for you
- Do not speculate or make assumptions about anything – simply stick with facts as they relate specifically to your situation at hand
- Always tell the truth, even if it might work against you – lying under oath could result in serious legal consequences down the road
Focus on answering each question truthfully, without getting into arguments with opposing counsel or raising your voice unnecessarily, as this will not help your case. Additionally, avoid sharing confidential information that has been discussed with your attorney since anything said during these sessions can be used against you later during trial proceedings.
How Long Does a Workers’ Comp Deposition Last?
Workers’ comp depositions can last anywhere from one hour to several days, depending on the complexity of the case. The duration of the deposition is contingent upon the amount of data that must be collected and how many people are required to provide testimony. For example, witnesses are often called upon during depositions, including medical professionals who may have treated or examined an injured worker, as well as coworkers who may have witnessed an accident or incident that caused injury at work. When there is an extensive number of witnesses, the deposition process will last substantially longer than if there are only a handful of them.
The goal of a workers’ comp deposition is for each side’s attorneys to collect evidence and testimony that will help them better understand their respective client’s interests and legal rights. A skilled West Palm Beach employment lawyer can help guide you through this process by ensuring all relevant evidence is collected while protecting your rights throughout the duration of your case
What Happens After a Workers’ Comp Deposition?
Once the workers’ comp deposition process is complete, your West Palm Beach employment attorney will assess the evidence obtained during the questioning and use it to construct their argument on your behalf. This process typically involves examining documents such as medical records, employer policies, job descriptions, and any other pertinent information related to the injury. Your attorney can then make a final determination if the facts collected provide adequate grounds for a valid workers’ compensation claim.
If so, they will craft a strategy that outlines how best to present this evidence in court. This may include preparing legal briefs outlining relevant facts and laws that apply to the case, as well as interviewing witnesses who can provide additional testimony about what happened leading up to and after the accident occurred. Your attorney may also suggest filing motions or taking other additional steps to solidify your case.
From here, it’s time for trial, where both sides present their cases before a judge or jury who ultimately decides whether you should receive compensation benefits from your employer’s insurance company. During this stage of proceedings, lawyers will cross-examine witnesses and provide arguments based on the precedents set by prior cases with similar circumstances.
In the event of mutual consent, both sides may come to a settlement arrangement outside of the courtroom that specifies the total amount of compensation due, as well as any requirements that must be fulfilled.
The outcome of a workers’ comp deposition depends largely upon how knowledgeable your attorney is regarding labor laws here in Florida. Having someone familiar with local statutes governing workplace injuries can make all the difference when attempting to secure fair compensation for damages incurred due to occupational accidents.
Having an experienced employment lawyer in West Palm Beach to handle your workers’ comp claim can make all the difference. A qualified legal professional can provide guidance through the deposition process, making sure all queries are responded to accurately and safeguarding your rights throughout. With their help, you can get through this difficult time with confidence, knowing that your interests have been represented by a professional who knows how to navigate these complex legal issues.
If you need help with a workers compensation claim in West Palm Beach, contact Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., experienced employment lawyers dedicated to protecting your rights and achieving the best possible outcome for your case.